The UK’s largest bank, HSBC, is joining the collaboration between LanzaTech, Virgin Atlantic, GE and Boeing to convert waste gases captured from industrial steel production to jet fuel via fermentation and chemical conversions. In addition, Virgin Atlantic announced that the team intends to do a demonstration flight within the next year.
LanzaTech and Virgin Atlantic have been working together for three years on the fuel’s development, but the addition of HSBC’s vital support to the partnership, along with Boeing and other technical partners, means a proving flight of the new technology will take place within the next year.
The support of HSBC will allow production of this innovative new fuel to move from sample size to demo scale – and will produce a sufficient amount of fuel to conduct the proving flight.
LanzaTech estimates that its process can apply to 65% of the world’s steel mills, allowing the fuel to be scaled up for worldwide use. It will be a commercially viable option for airlines as it is a ‘drop in’ fuel, requiring no modifications to engine or aircraft technology, and will be produced at a cost comparable to conventional jet fuel.
By the way, I read this interesting article from Energy Collective about the large amount of distillation energy required for fermenting gaseous feedstock vs using gas phase reaction. I am not familiar with the engineering process of this kind of technology so I can’t really form my own opinion but it is always good I think to present both sides on the benefits and challenges of green chemistry.