Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech partnership creates fuel from waste gases

t1,500 US gallons of jet fuel have been produced from Lanzanol – LanzaTech’s low carbon ethanol – as the result of a partnership between the company and Virgin Atlantic which began in 2011.t
tThe fuel is the first in the world to be derived from waste industrial gases from steel mills via a fermentation process, and initial analyses suggest it could result in carbon savings of 65% compared to conventional jet fuel.t
tIt was produced in China at the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials-certified Shougang demonstration facility in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Lab with support from the US Department of Energy funding from HSBC.t
tThe alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) fuel has passed all its initial performance tests, and now LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic are set to continue working with Boeing and other industry colleagues to complete the additional testing required by aircraft and engine manufacturers before approving the fuel for first use in a commercial aircraft.t
tAssuming all initial approvals are achieved, the innovative LanzaTech jet fuel could be used in a proving flight in 2017. This would help pave the way for LanzaTech to fund and build its first commercial jet fuel plant to supply fuel to Virgin Atlantic and other airlines. As a UK-based partnership, it is hoped the first LanzaTech jet fuel plant would be based in the UK.t
tLanzaTech estimates that its process could be retrofitted to 65% of the world’s steel mills, offering the potential to produce 30 billion gallons of ethanol worldwide, for around 15 billion gallons of jet fuel each year. The company claims this would represent just under 19% of all aviation fuel currently used worldwide.t
tSir Richard Branson commented, “This is a real game changer for aviation and could significantly reduce the industry’s reliance on oil within our lifetime. Virgin Atlantic was the first commercial airline to test a bio-fuel flight and continues to be a leader in sustainable aviation.t
t“We chose to partner with LanzaTech because of its impressive sustainability profile and the commercial potential of the jet fuel,” Branson continued. “Our understanding of low carbon fuels has developed rapidly over the last decade, and we are closer than ever before to bringing a sustainable product to the market for commercial use by Virgin Atlantic and other global airlines.”t
tDr Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of LanzaTech, added, “We can now truly imagine a world where a steel mill can not only produce the steel for the components of the plane but also recycle its gases to produce the fuel that powers the aircraft. This programme illustrates that such breakthroughs are only possible through collaboration. We look forward to working with colleagues past, present and future to make this pioneering new fuel a commercial reality.”t

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