Preparing for take-off: Planes fuelled by waste

Preparing for take-off: Planes fuelled by waste

Planes could soon take off from British airports using fuels made from rubbish that typically gets sent to landfill.

Preparing for take-off: Planes fuelled by waste

As part of plans to promote clean alternative fuels, the UK government is offering funding for projects in the UK to develop low carbon waste-based fuels for planes and lorries, with matching funding from industry.

Trials of sustainable jet fuel, made from waste materials, have taken place in Europe and North America, and now the launch of a UK competition will see British experts conduct pioneering research in this sector. The department says it has already had interest from more than 70 groups in bidding for the funding.

New fuels for existing aircraft

The new fuels are chemically very similar to conventional fuels, so can be used in existing aircraft without the need for any engine modifications.

The low carbon transport fuels made from waste materials could be worth £600 million a year to the British economy by 2030, and could also support up to 9,800 new jobs.

“We are committed to cutting carbon emissions and promoting new environmentally-friendly fuels that will help us meet that goal. We are making funding available to innovative businesses which will lead the way in developing alternative fuels that are efficient, sustainable and clean.”

By Jesse Norman ,Transport Minister

He added: “We want every new car and van in the UK to be zero emission by 2040, but we know lorries and aeroplanes will rely on more traditional fuels for years to come so we must promote environmentally friendly alternatives.”

90% carbon reduction

Norman said the £22 million fund could help the UK deliver up to 5 new low carbon fuel plants by 2021. The money is available to projects that will produce low carbon waste-based fuels, to be used in planes and lorries where it is not viable today to switch to electric power, because of the large weight of the vehicles.

Planes and lorries powered by waste fuels could use up to 90% less carbon than traditional fossil fuels.

The Future fuels for flight and freight competition is part of the government’s ‘Modern industrial strategy’, which sets out to support evolving industries with the potential to boost the economy.

The government is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and transport emissions must be slashed if those targets are to be met.

The government says that biofuels made from waste products could be even more sustainable than current crop-based biofuels, already used in some road-based vehicles

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