British Airways Is Turning Trash Into Jet Fuel
Alchemists have been trying unsuccessfully to turn common elements into gold for thousands of years. Fast-forward to 2014, and British Airways has found a way to do just that: turning your household trash into fuel. The popular airline has partnered with Solena Fuels to turn thousands of tons of unused refused into sustainable jet fuel, under what is being called Project GreenSky, though “BrownSky” seems a bit more accurate. Joking aside, it’s a revolutionary idea that’s been successful in development. RELATED: Watch an SRT Viper Race an F-16 [video]
The process is highly complicated, but once up and running Solena will have the capacity to convert approximately 575,000 tons of recycled wasted, which would normally be destined for a landfill or incinerator, into about 120,000 tons of aircraft fuel. British Airways has already committed to 50,000 tons of fuel produced per year, equating to $550 million over the next 11 years.
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Solena begins by using high temperature plasma gasification (no, we did not make that term up) to convert the solid waste into a synthetic gas, then cleans and prepares the gas before it is converted into usable liquid hydrocarbons. All totaled, British Airways calculates the reduction in carbon emissions to equal the removal of 150,000 cars from the motorways.
Project GreenSky will find its home in Essex, United Kingdom. Construction on the facility is expected to be completed in 2017, utilizing some existing infrastructure from a former oil refinery closed in 2012. Reusing our own trash might not be the cure-all energy source, but it certainly marks a step in the right direction.
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