New plan to turn food waste into green jet fuel

 In Air Pollution, News

With another easing of lockdown this week many people are planning their summer holidays with more confidence.

Many will prefer to stay within the UK rather than flying off to exotic locations abroad because they are worried about their effect on climate change.

But scientists may soon come to the rescue with a new approach by making jet fuel from food waste, which could reduce drastically greenhouse gas emissions from flying by 165 per cent compared to fossil energy.

“It is really exciting news,” said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox, “and could solve the double problem for the aviation industry of meeting an increased demand for flying while at the same time cutting emissions rapidly.”

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the USA have discovered a way of converting food scraps, animal manure and waste water into a type of paraffin or jet hydrocarbon.

Scientists say this fuel cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 165 per cent because as well as reducing the carbon dioxide from planes it also gets rid of the methane that would be produced if the food waste was allowed to rot in landfill sites.

Another major advantage is that this fuel produces a third less soot, which plays a key role in forming the trail of condensed vapours left by a high-flying aircraft and adds a powerful warming effect to the carbon dioxide (CO2) coming from the engines.

Ron said at the moment the USA alone uses about 21 billion gallons of jet fuel every year and this is expected to double by around 2050 at the same time the country is committed to cutting the CO2 by 50 per cent of its present figure.

Now the research team are planning to increase production of the new fuel and to begin test flights in 2023. And they are confident at the same time they can still meet the extremely strict quality criteria that Federal authorities impose on the quality of aircraft fuels.

Because developing battery-powered planes for long haul flights is a long way off, research has moved to replacing existing jet fuel with a sustainable alternative.

“Although many environmental groups want people to fly less, I think we also have to be pragmatic,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.

“People will still want to jet off for a variety of reasons, such as business, visiting family and friends overseas as well as holidays abroad, so we have to strike a balance,” he added. “We need to cut our carbon footprint in all areas of our lives, including in the aviation business. This is an exciting invention which must be explored further and could keep all sides happy.”

For more details about green energy, call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

Caption: Taking off – scientists have discovered a new jet fuel that cuts present carbon emissions.

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