Virgin Atlantic uses biofuel from Georgia facility

Virgin Atlantic has operated a flight using a new type of low-carbon fuel that came from a facility in Georgia.

Jet fuel used in the Boeing 747 on the flight from Orlando to London on Tuesday was converted from ethanol at a LanzaTech facility in Soperton, Ga. An international standards body approved the technique, according to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory.

The Virgin Atlantic VS16 flight is prepared for take off at Orlando International Airport in Florida, USA, as Virgin Atlantic and Lanzatech launch first ever commercial flight using innovative biofuel. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 2, 2018. The aviation industry is taking a landmark step towards making commercially-viable sustainable aviation fuel a reality. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/PA Wire

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LanzaTech, a biofuel company, bought the Soperton facility in 2012 for $5.1 million from Range Fuels, which had a failed wood-to-ethanol factory there.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory partnered with LanzaTech, which was founded in New Zealand and is based in Chicago.

The company got funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's bioenergy technologies office, and has developed a carbon recycling technology to convert gas into fuels like ethanol, according to the laboratory. The ethanol can be blended with conventional jet fuel and is eligible to be used in commercial flights.

A facility is planned at the Georgia LanzaTech site to convert ethanol into jet fuel and diesel.

“This fuel exceeds the properties of petroleum-based jet fuel in terms of efficiency and burns much cleaner," said John Holladay, the laboratory's deputy manager for energy efficiency and renewable energy, in a written statement. "And by recycling carbon already in the environment - in this case waste gas streams - it lets the world keep more petroleum sequestered the ground.”

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