British Airways plans to convert household waste into renewable jet fuel.
Part of the airline’s commitment to cut net emissions in half by 2050, the first in a series of waste plants will turn dirty diapers, plastic food containers, chocolate bar wrappers, and more into clean-burning, sustainable propellants.
The factory can reportedly transform enough rubbish to power all BA 787 Dreamliner-operated flights from London to San Jose, Calif., and New Orleans, La., for a whole year.
“Sustainable fuels will play an increasingly critical role in global aviation, and we are preparing for that future,” International Airlines Group (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh said in a statement.
British Airways-the UK’s largest international airline-is working with recycling and waste management expert Suez and renewable fuels firm Velocys, each of which provides funding, as well as technological and operational support.
“Turning household waste into jet fuel is an amazing innovation that produces clean fuel while reducing landfill,” Walsh added. “This partnership … shows how we are investing in our long-term future-and that of our customers.”
Compared with conventional jet fuel, BA’s new product is expected to scale down greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions by 60 percent and 90 percent, respectively.
The UK Department of Transport just last week added sustainable jet fuel to its Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) incentive scheme.
“We believe that the recently announced RTFO changes will allow the UK to become a world leader in sustainable jet fuel,” Velocys chief David Pummell said in a statement.
It remains unclear exactly where or when this new plant will be constructed, or when it will begin production. British Airways did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Companies have been going green for years; in January, Greenpeace named Apple, Google, and Facebook among the world’s most environmentally friendly tech firms.
In the last decade, meanwhile, a number of test flights have been conducted using biofuels like waste vegetable oil, algae, jatropha, and camelina to help reduce air pollutants.
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