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First ever commercial waste-based biofuel flight lands in London

Virgin Atlantic made history as the first ever commercial waste-based biofuel flight landed at Gatwick Airport earlier this week.

The Boeing 747 aircraft’s fuel was supplied by LanzaTech, which takes waste carbon-rich gasses from heavy industrial processes such as steel and turns them into ethanol. The ethanol is then used for a range of low carbon products including jet fuel.

According to LanzaTech, the fuel delivers 70% life cycle carbon savings compared to traditional jet fuel. Furthermore, none of the water and land use concerns associated with crop-based biofuels exist too.

The flight follows news of a £410,000 government Future Fuels for Flight and Freight grant to determine the feasibility of building a jet fuel plant in Britain.

There are now talks and pressure from Virgin Atlantic that the UK government needs to commit to making this fuel a commercial reality in the UK. With further investor support, LanzaTech says it could have three UK plants running by 2025, producing up to 125m gallons of fuel per year.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin group founder, said: “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.

“The LanzaTech process is important because this fuel takes waste, carbon-rich gases from industrial factories and gives them a second life – so that new fossil fuels don’t have to be taken out of the ground. This flight is a huge step forward in making this new technology a mainstream reality.”

Acumen is delighted to hear of the news that waste is being sued to fund other types of travel rather than being wasted.

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