Soon, aircraft to fly out with fuel made from restaurant waste

Airline companies are ready and eager to fuel up with biobased jet fuel, which is made from waste cooking oil from fast-food and other restaurants, waste fat, biomass and even algae — the stuff of “pond scum.”

In the article, C and EN Senior Business Editor Melody M. Bomgardner explains that successful test flights with biobased jet fuel has been completed.

Biobased fuels are blended into conventional Jet A-1 fuel. Airlines are interested partly because of rising costs for petroleum-based jet fuel.

Bomgardner notes that even though test flights, like a recent United Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago on a 40/60 mixture of bio- and conventional fuel, were a success, a lack of suppliers is making it harder for biobased jet fuels to get off the ground.

One major barrier: a shortage of feedstocks like algae oil, waste cooking oil and fuel crops, which makes green jet fuels more expensive.

Both the airlines and the biofuel producers are hopeful, however, that support from the private sector and the government will allow these green fuels to fly soon.

The article was published in Chemical ‘n’ Engineering News (C and EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

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