British carrier Virgin Atlantic has announced a tie-up with energy firm LanzaTech to produce low-carbon aviation fuel in India.

Announcing this here today, Virgin President, Mr Richard Branson, said the partnership with LanzaTech “represents a breakthrough in aviation fuel technology that will see waste gases from industrial steel production being captured, fermented and chemically converted using Swedish biofuels technology for use as a jet fuel.”

The low-carbon aviation fuel, which will be produced in India, is claimed to have half the carbon footprint of standard fossil fuel.

“India, which is among the world’s largest steel producers, will be one of the first countries where the fuel will be produced as LanzaTech and partners develop facilities there,” Mr Branson said.

Within three years, Virgin routes from Delhi to London Heathrow could see flights run on the new fuel, a Virgin spokesperson said, adding that a ‘demo’ flight with the new fuel was planned in 12-18 months.

“A demonstration plant will be commissioned in China this year and the first commercial operation will be in place there by 2014. A facility in India should follow around six months later,” she said.

Virgin, which would be the first airline to use this fuel, would work with LanzaTech, Boeing and Swedish Biofuels towards achieving the technical approval required for using new fuel types in commercial aircraft, the spokesperson said.

(This article was published on October 11, 2011)
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