Richard Branson's airline plans to use technology that recycles industrial waste gases which would otherwise be released as carbon dioxide.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 12 october 2011

Powered by
This article titled “Virgin Atlantic unveils plan to use ‘green’ fuel” was written by James Meikle, for on Tuesday 11th October 2011 10.19 UTC

Sir Richard Branson aims to introduce a “green aviation fuel” on Virgin Atlantic aircraft within three years claiming “one of the most exciting developments of our lifetime and a major breakthrough in the war on carbon”..

His company hopes to help convert waste gases from industrial steel production into a jet propuslion that could ultimately account for nearly a fifth of the present annual global consumption of aviation fuel.

A demonstration flight is planned within 12-18 months, the airline announced on Tuesday.

The plan to recycle gases that would otherwise be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide caught environmental campaigners by surprise but Friends of the Earth (FoE) gave the idea a cautious welcome since it would not raise the same land use problems as a Virgin biofuel experiment using coconut oil more than three years ago.

Branson said: “With oil running out, it is important that new fuel solutions are sustainable and, with the steel industry alone able to deliver over 15bn gallons of jet fuel annually, the potential is very exciting.

“This new technology is scalable, sustainable and can be commercially produced at a cost comparable to conventional jet fuel.”

He announced the plans to partner with low-carbon development firm LanzaTech at a press conference in London. Plane-making company Boeing and Swedish Fuels are also involved. The Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels, an international initiative monitoring standards for alternative fuels, will guide the experiment.

On his blog, Branson claimed: “This could turn aviation from a dirty industry to one of the cleanest … Within three years we aim to fly Virgin Atlantic planes with the new fuel on flights from Shanghai to London and Delhi to London, and to follow this with operations in the UK and the rest of the world.”

The technology is being trialled in New Zealand with a larger demonstration plant being commissioned in Shanghai and the first commercial operation expected in China in 2014.

Virgin has admitted that the coconut experiment was never likely to be developed commercially and had been done to prove to sceptics that it was possible to develop alternatives to aviation fuel.

LanzaTech estimates the new recyling process could apply to 65% of the world’s steel mills and could also be used in other metal processing and chemical industries. “We are confident that we will have a facility with the capacity to produce fuel for commercial use by 2014,” said Jennifer Holmgren, its chief executive.

FoE’s transport campaigner, Richard Dyer, said: “On the face of it, it does look promising in that they are getting round the issues of biofuels and land use. It is a very long way from commercial use. It has got to be very safe and cheap enough for airlines to be interested in using it.”

He also pointed out Virgin had lobbied for airport expansion and against air passenger duty, an environmental levy. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.


Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile Yesterday

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture Yesterday

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Design Yesterday

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion Yesterday

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times


Kenyatta Cheese

Creative Technologist

Syndicated Yesterday

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability Yesterday

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising Yesterday

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising Yesterday

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings


Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games

Design Yesterday

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia Yesterday

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising Yesterday

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.