Mid-sized passanger airplane flying above clouds. Photo Credit: spooh/Getty Images

Environment USA25. March 2021

Airplanes Powered by Food Waste? It’s Possible!

American scientists have found a way to make a competitive jet hydrocarbon from food waste, thus offering a solution to cut carbon emissions in the aeronautics sector, and reduce food waste from ending up in landfills.

“There’s exciting jet fuels that rely on burning trash and dry waste but this actually works for those wastes that have high water content, which we normally dispose of in landfill,” says Derek Vardon, senior research engineer at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and lead author on the study.

A sustainable paraffin is created from wet-waste, and has the potential to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 165% since this novel energy source not only reduces the carbon emitted by airplanes running on fossil fuels, but also avoids food waste from turning into methane gas. Another positive effect of this new fuel is the reduction of soot production by 34%, as soot plays a key role in warming up CO2 that comes out of plane engines. Test flights are scheduled with Southwest Airlines in 2023.


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