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Your Breath's CO2 Captured and Used for Creating Airplane Biodiesel


gcejmtail_264It’s interesting to know, when you’re aboard a plane, that its fuel is derived from algae, and you practically fly on a living creature’s output. Of course, fossil fuels are also based on past living creatures, but the difference is that the fuel from algae is renewable, meaning its carbon emissions can be reused by the same algae, reducing its impact on the atmosphere.

What’s more interesting when you’re in an airplane is knowing that those algae were fed with the CO2 you exhaled when sitting and waiting for the airplane… in the airport!

This idea will soon be put into practice at the Liverpool John Lennon Airport in Liverpool, U.K., will be developed by Origo Industries, and it will be called the “Eco-Box”.

The Eco-Box was designed to reduce the vehicles’ CO2 emissions, by capturing them through a photo-bioreactor as a feedstock for algae, producing biomass, which refined, is converted into biodiesel.

The airport has a goal of harnessing 24,000 gallons of fuel from the pilot program, as well as providing heat to the airport. They also want to expand to a 289,000 gallon system after the pilot trial period, providing about 800 gallons of biodiesel every day.

When I’ll fly to the U.K., and pass through John Lennon Airport from Liverpool, I’ll remember breathing consciously, because my flight won’t pollute as much as others.

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  1. Hmmm… What an interesting sort of green thinking. And how much would be the daily fuel consumption there with all those planes taking off, and how many ppm would this greenness amount to…?

    I can’t help thinking, that this level of optimism is actually making things worse. As if there is nothing wrong with flying around just because everybody is thinking green – never mind the actual acts? Then little tricks like this one become the approval stamp. Britain is a small place really, what is the whole point of national flying, let alone the amount of it? And how many international flights really are essential either? I know your train tickets can be horribly expensive and flights ridiculously cheap, but you must change that and please, please be sharp about it too…

    I could only be thrilled by this piece of news if there would be a pie chart attached to the eco-box, showing everybody how little even 800 gallons a day mean in the context. And because your article isn’t at least hinting at this lack of effect in comparison, in the end it is just a sad case of green whitewash. Resulting in extremely pale green.

    In general though, I like this site. We all need hope, but if that is what you intend to produce, you need to keep some sort of balance and show some journalistic integrity and search for the truth…

    • Hello Mari,

      First of all, thanks for appreciating my site. We try to publish only the most interesting news here, and generally, green technical breakthroughs. I know this one is like “scratching your left cheek with your right arm”, but it’s an experiment, not a definitive action all airports are going to adopt. I don’t know what to think, either: it may be good, in the perspective of their figures, or it may be a “whitewash”, as you said, only meant to feed the people’s desire for green technology, which is also a kind of marketing. I think it’s in my duty to present possibly working ideas, if they sound interesting, independent on what other bigger blogs/sites/publications/mainstream science/media may think about them.
      People weren’t planning on using many newly invented technologies 50 years ago, but here we are. Some of them were really invented from scratch, just from an idea thought beautiful but impossible to accomplish once.


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