Virgin Atlantic Goes Circular With Innovative Airplane Fuel

Oct 8, 2018 11:15 AM ET
Blog

In a 2016 report, UPS* and GreenBiz found awareness of circular economy was not only on the rise, but a majority of companies (86%) believed circular economy principles would be important to their organization in the next two years. And the data has proved to be accurate: we’ve seen many examples of companies implementing circular economy principles, from Vodafone’s New Every Year/Red Hot buy-back program to Reformation clothing’s new partnership with thredUp to produce new markets for secondhand clothing. The newest example creates a first-of-its kind engine fuel that not only recaptures industrial waste, but also opens new possibilities for the future of sustainable fuels.

This Tuesday, a Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando to London Gatwick demonstrated a new form of low-carbon fuel in action. The flight is a result of a partnership between LanzaTech and Epic Fuels to create a fuel mix made in part from captured greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The innovation taps into LanzaTech’s carbon recycling technologies to capture “carbon-rich industrial waste gases, such as those from steel mills,” that would otherwise go up a chimney and into the atmosphere. LanzaTech then recycles this into a product that can be blended into jet fuel. This sustainable fuel option has the potential to achieve “70 percent lower carbon emissions compared to regular fossil jet.”

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