Is Green Jet Fuel Finally Ready for Takeoff?

Flying dirty, at least in terms of global warming. A round-trip flight from New York to LA produces 2.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide, depending on the airline. This is almost the same emissions you would get from driving a passenger car 6,000 miles or burning 2,653 pounds of coal, according to EPA calculations. Longer flights are worse. Jetting from Denver to Paris produces 4.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide, while Miami to Shanghai produce about 10 tons of CO.2, According to the Berlin-based Atmosfair Carbon Flight Calculator.

Carbon emissions from jet travel account for only 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gases, but experts worry that this number will increase as demand for air travel increases in developing parts of the world. Jet engines also produce sulfur and nitrogen pollutants, water vapor and condensation in conventional aviation fuels. These compounds increase the overall contribution of jet travel to global warming by approximately 7 to 8 percent of global warming, according to a survey of U.S. and European researchers published in the journal January 2021. Atmospheric environment.

Last month, the Biden administration announced that it would include a tax credit on the $ 4.3 billion research program, as well as the proposed F 3.5 trillion reconciliation bill for SAF creators that is currently being debated in Congress. The White House also said the three federal agencies would work with a consortium of U.S. airlines to increase the use of sustainable energy to 3 billion gallons by 2030.

At the moment, the government restricts airlines to a 50 percent blend of SAF and conventional fuels, which United officials expect to change after the results of the test flight. “We are demonstrating that the aircraft can handle sustainable aviation fuel and the performance is technically the same,” Riley said. “This combination limit is probably not needed. We want to see our 100 percent aircraft flying at 100 percent SAF.

Jivo CEO Patrick Gruber says that a decade after the creation of SAF, the technology is ready for a large range of things that could happen if the biden tax credit is passed and airlines continue their demand for its green fuel. “The technology is well developed. The products are proven and certified to work, “says Gruber.” Right now, it’s about raising capital, and making sure everyone can make money. “

Gevo South Dakota has announced plans for a new $ 800 million facility at Lake Preston that will be able to produce 45 million gallons of SAF per year, including 350 million pounds of animal feed, when it opens in 2024. To keep its carbon footprint low, the plant will run on renewable energy from a nearby wind farm, Gruber said.

Instead of using plant or waste oil, some entrepreneurs want to go further by making SAF from thin air. Well, actually by a neat chemical technique that combines a carbon molecule drawn from CO2 Atmosphere with a hydrogen molecule split from water. The result is a sustainable hydrocarbon fuel, according to Nicholas Flanders, co-founder of a startup Twelve, made from Stanford University’s Chemical Engineering Lab.

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