Airline mogul and billionaire Richard Branson just announced that in three years Virgin Atlantic airplanes will be fueled by waste gas from power plants, steel works, and aluminum plants. Within 24 months the company will be able to take waste gas from these industrial sites and turn it into aviation fuel for their commercial airplanes. The process will reduce the carbon footprint of Virgin’s airplanes by as much as 50 percent.

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I’ve been lucky enough to make some exciting announcements in my lifetime, and I think this is one of the most exciting,” Branson said in an interview with Bloomberg. “24 months from now we should have planes flying from Shanghai, flying from Delhi, using this fuel. Then we want to start rolling it out around the rest of the Virgin Atlantic Fleet,” Branson told Bloomberg. He then said that even more importantly, he wanted to convince the rest of the airline industry that this was a viable alternative fueling option.

He believes there is enough waste gas in the world, currently being, “sent up into earth’s atmosphere,” to power the entire airline industry. “The airline industry could radically transform its carbon output and instead of being the industry that everyone points a finger at, it could well become the industry that people cite as one of the best examples of an industry that has managed to completely change itself.” While we’ve seen lots of innovations in sustainable aircraft on the small scale, Virgin Atlantic’s plans to recycle waste gas stands to significantly decrease factory emissions around the world while providing a new source of fuel for airlines.

+ Virgin Atlantic

Via Washington Post