Virgin Atlantic celebrated the landing of its Boeing 747-400 G-VROM at Gatwick airport in the United Kingdom. It is not an uncommon sight to see this plane arriving at the airport. However, the unique thing about this plane was the fuel it used to take the flight. The firm took to Twitter to announce about the trip which has made history in aviation. The flight from Orlando, Florida was marked as the first time when a commercial aircraft flew using biotech startup LanzaTech’s sustainable fuel.
Virgin Atlantic referred to the event as a “landmark step towards making commercially-viable sustainable aviation fuel a reality.” Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson marshall said in a statement, “Long-haul travel is more important than ever for connecting people around the world. And it’s our responsibility to ensure we’re doing that in the most sustainable way possible. Working with LanzaTech will enable us to drastically reduce our carbon emissions and at the same time, help support the UK industry. That’s why we’re so excited to showcase this fuel on its first commercial flight as we plan for the world’s first full-scale jet fuel plant using this amazing new technology.”
The LanzaTech was granted a grant of 410K Pounds last year by the UK Government to determine the feasibility of building a 40-50 million US gallon jet fuel plant in the UK. Chris Grayling, UK Transport Secretary, said, “This waste to jet fuel project has the potential to help transform the aviation industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality around our country’s airports.” LanzaTech produces sustainable biofuels by recycling the industrial waste gases such as those produced from heavy industrial processes. The processes followed to turn these wastes, carbon-rich gases into ethanol and then to a range of low carbon products including jet fuel.
CEO LanzaTech Jennifer Holmgren said, “Today, with our smart carbon partner, Virgin Atlantic, we have shown that recycling waste carbon emissions into jet fuel is not impossible, that waste carbon needs to be thought as an opportunity, not a liability, that carbon can be reused over and over again.” Virgin Atlantic requested the UK government to commit making this eco-friendly fuel a commercial reality in the UK and support LanzaTech in establishing and running three UK plants by 2025. This will allow the startup to produce up to 125 million gallons of sustainable fuel each year which will which will result in saving nearly 1 million tonnes of life-cycle carbon.