9   +   2   =  

And this is very, very cool…

Virgin Atlantic has always been boutique, and some may even say a bit quirky. They’re now also, unique. Virgin Atlantic has done what no other airline on earth ever has, launching and actually flying the world’s first flight fueled by “biofuel”. Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 747 “Queen Of The Skies” just took off on the world’s first commercial biofuel flight today from Orlando to London and with any hope, a lot more are on the way…

BioFuel

Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech have partnered to potentially change commercial aviation forever. LanzaTech’s special “capture” technology turns industrial waste gases into ethanol, which can then be used to sustainably fuel commercial planes. Think of it like this: a steel plant puts off lots of emissions and gasses. We know that. With this technology, these gasses can be trapped, and through some crazy scientific stuff can then be made into fuel. Turning waste into fuel = cool.

“Long haul travel is more important than ever for connecting people around the world. And it’s our responsibility to ensure we’re doing that in the most sustainable way possible. Working with LanzaTech will enable us to drastically reduce our carbon emissions and at the same time, help support UK industry. That’s why we’re so excited to showcase this fuel on its first commercial flight as we plan for the world’s first full scale jet fuel plant using this amazing new technology.”

The Flight

In true Virgin Atlantic fashion, Richard Branson will don his high visibility vest to guide the Boeing 747 into its Gatwick gate tomorrow morning. Branson is throwing his weight behind the project, in hopes of securing support from the UK government to bring BioFuel technology to the UK. The airline today proved its value, but there’s simply not enough of it. It’s estimated that this new BioFuel would reduce CO2 emissions by 1 million tonnes a year, on Virgin Atlantic alone. It doesn’t take a scientist to realize that’s a big number.

Future

Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech have garnered support from both the US and UK governments, but at present day, BioFuel is not a viable solution. There’s just not enough of it available. The airline has pledged to make 100% of it’s UK flights run on BioFuel, if industrial production facilities are created. Virgin believes up to 125 million gallons of sustainable fuel per year could be created, if the project takes off in the UK. This is a huge breakthrough.

Win

BioFuel could potentially be a win – win for everyone, even cynics. Cutting millions of tonnes in fuel emissions without draining natural resources is a win of its own. But reducing airline fuel costs takes down one of the most volatile airline gambles. Fuel prices dictate airfare, and if fuel prices are no longer as volatile, an airline *could* lower fares. We’re saying there’s a chance…