Did you know that German fighter airplanes used synthetic fuel made from biomass? This is what Australian line Qantas and US-based fuel producer Solena are negotiating about these days, in an attempt to replace the fossil-based fuels that currently power their airplanes.
Solena also has deals with other airlines like easyJet, Rynair or Aer Lingus. The relationship with Qantas will build a biojet fuel plant in London, will create 1,200 jobs and will cost £200m to build. The plant’s fuel will be the 500,000 tons of waste per year. Still, this would only account for 2% of their needs at Heathrow.
The materials that the biofuel will be made from are household organic residues, tree cuttings, agricultural and industrial waste. The technology is based on the Fischer-Tropsch process, which makes synthetic liquid fuel using oil substitutes.
The technology can make biofuel from coal, but the carbon emissions are overwhelming, so different sources have to be used. The kerosene-based jet fuel will be blended with biojet diesel. The aim is to totally replace kerosene with time, but for now the biofuel proportion has to be small enough not to ruin the aircraft’s engine, and at the same time offer significant changes to carbon emissions.