Oxford technology used to make rubbish into jet fuel

first_imgTechnology from Oxford University’s Wolfson Catalysis Centre will be used to help increase the production of sustainable aviation fuel.Solena Fuels, has committed to building the first facility in the world to convert landfill waste into jet fuel, with the project being financed by British Airways. The site chosen was once home to an old oil refinery at Coryton on the Thames estuary in Thurrock. Approximately, 575,000 tonnes of the waste left over from recycling, normally meant for incineration or landfill, will instead be converted into 120,000 tonnes of clean-burning liquid fuels.Velocys, previously known as Oxford Catalysts, will be producing the speciality catalysts to be used in the generation of these cleaner fuels. Usually the company makes these catalysts to be used in all kinds of fuel production, including through the use of conventional fossil fuels as well as renewable sources of energy such as biomass. Solena Fuels will be using their own technology to process the waste into fuel.The process works by evenly heating a catalyst bed inside a gasifier using four plasma torches, so that the catalyst reaches temperatures of around 3500 degrees Celsius. The waste is inserted into the gasifier and falls on to the catalyst bed, breaking down without combustion thanks to the extremely high temperature. The released gases rise up within the gasifier chamber and form new bonds, creating new compounds. These are then cooled down and separated, so that impurities and unwanted compounds may be removed.Earlier this month, the global aviation community met in Geneva to discuss the impact the flying industry has on the environment at the 2014 Global Sustainable Aviation Summit. Two weeks later British Airways made a long-term commitment to purchase all 50,000 tonnes per annum of the jet fuel produced by Solena Fuels at market competitive rates. Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said, “We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry. “The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly. The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.” The chief executive was speaking in a video uploaded by British Airways on to Youtube, entitled “Fueling the Future”.A fresher at Exeter College said, “It’s great to see that they are developing technology and using it to make more use of the huge amount of waste that humans produce. Maybe we should be thinking about making less waste in the first place though.”last_img

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