Passenger Plane Flies 560 Kilometers Using Recycled Cooking Oil

In what the airline referred to as a "perfect carbon-neutral" flight, a British Airways Airbus A320neo flew from London to Glasgow powered by a mix of 35 percent recycled cooking oil and conventional jet fuel.

Airbus A320neo
By Ephantus Mukundi
Sep. 23, 2021 10:06 UTC
Airbus A320neo

British Airways has suc­cess­fully com­pleted its first pas­sen­ger flight using recy­cled cook­ing oil.

In what the air­line referred to as a per­fect car­bon-neu­tral” flight, BA’s Airbus A320neo flew from London to Glasgow pow­ered by sus­tain­able avi­a­tion fuel com­pris­ing a mix of 35 per­cent recy­cled cook­ing oil and con­ven­tional jet fuel.

The sus­tain­able fuels avail­able today are not a scal­able solu­tion for the indus­try. To sug­gest that this a long-term path to decar­bonize avi­a­tion would be mis­lead­ing.- Cait Hewitt, pol­icy direc­tor, Aviation Environmental Federation

The com­pany said that the rest of the emis­sions were off­set using high-qual­ity, ver­i­fied car­bon off­sets.”

This flight offered a prac­ti­cal demon­stra­tion of the progress we’re mak­ing in our car­bon reduc­tion jour­ney,” Sean Doyle, the company’s chief exec­u­tive, said. By work­ing together with our indus­try part­ners, we’ve deliv­ered a 62 per­cent improve­ment in emis­sions reduc­tions com­pared to a decade ago.”

See Also:Climate Change Coverage

The air­line said the com­bi­na­tion of fuel, opti­mal flight paths, the newest plane and elec­tri­fied air­port vehi­cles reduced car­bon emis­sions dras­ti­cally in an effort to decar­bonize ahead of the upcom­ing COP26 sum­mit tak­ing place in the United Kingdom.

Only one engine was used to taxi along the run­way for take­off and the sec­ond engine was turned off after land­ing. To increase effi­ciency fur­ther, air­craft com­puter sys­tems worked out the ideal fly­ing alti­tude for fuel while fac­tor­ing in wind, and plane climb speeds.

While the BA1476 flight still pro­duced 6.4 tons of car­bon, the air­line said it con­tributed 62 per­cent less than a sim­i­lar jour­ney 10 years ago.

BA said the car­bon-neu­tral flight improve­ment was achieved by using a more effi­cient air­craft and sus­tain­able fuel. For the London to Glasgow flight, the air­line used an Airbus A320neo, the qui­etest and most fuel-effi­cient short-haul air­craft” in its fleet.

While most of the fac­tors involved in mak­ing the car­bon-neu­tral flight suc­cess­ful are not always present and British Airways cus­tomers should not expect such flights any time soon, the air­line sought to demon­strate that achiev­ing net zero-car­bon emis­sions is pos­si­ble by 2050.

This marks real progress in our efforts to decar­bonize and shows our deter­mi­na­tion to con­tinue inno­vat­ing, work­ing with gov­ern­ments and indus­try, and accel­er­at­ing the adop­tion of new low-car­bon solu­tions,” Doyle said.

John Kaye, the chief exec­u­tive of Heathrow International Airport, said BA’s flight demon­strated that solu­tions for net-zero car­bon emis­sions exist, but still need to be scaled up.

However, not every­body agrees with BA’s approach.

It’s impor­tant to real­ize with sus­tain­able fuels that these are net emis­sions,” said Cait Hewitt, the pol­icy direc­tor of the Aviation Environmental Federation. You still get as much CO2 com­ing out of the back of the air­craft as you do with con­ven­tional fuels.”

The sus­tain­able fuels avail­able today are not a scal­able solu­tion for the indus­try,” she added. To sug­gest that this a long-term path to decar­bonize avi­a­tion would be mis­lead­ing.”


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