The aviation industry is starting to break ground when it comes to cutting its carbon footprint. Just two years ago, the first commercial flight took place using renewable fuels — jet fuel produced from recycled waste carbon. It was a Virgin Atlantic Airline Boeing 747 flight from Orlando to London.
Carbon recycling is coming to the fore as multiple global companies are applying for patents. Most of us know about capturing and burying emissions. But many of us are only beginning to learn about recycling them. If renewable aviation fuels are to take off, then airlines must expand their commitments with bio-refineries.
“I believe it is possible to get fuels with net-zero emissions because the technology is available,” says Patrick R. Gruber, chief executive of Gevo, a renewable fuels company based in Englewood, Colo., in an interview. “We know what the outcome has to be: it has to run planes and it has to displace carbon. You don’t have to change the engine and there is no need to change the infrastructure. The jet fuel needs to be certified and it needs to work on all engines and platforms.”