Virgin Atlantic flew a large passenger jet from London to New York using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (“SAF”). Air plane travel generates nearly 3% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Cutting pollution from flying is important to fight against the climate crisis. Airlines and plane makers are working hard to figure out ways to make their flights pollute less. Typically, air-planes can use up to 50% SAF, and this is mixed with the kerosene that the planes usually use for fuel.
Virgin Atlantic had to get special permission to use 100% SAF. The fuel used on this flight was mainly made from used cooking oils and animal fats.
A small part of the fuel was made from corn waste. Virgin Atlantic says that using SAF cut the flight’s pollution by 70%. SAF still pollutes when it’s burned. The difference is in how the fuels are made.
SAF is made from plants and related animal products that once absorbed carbon dioxide from the air. When SAF burns. it just releases this same carbon dioxide again. That’s different from jet fuel, which is made from oil pumped from underground, releasing carbon dioxide that was deeply buried.
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