A two hour proving flight in the UK in 2015 of a new type of jet fuel is to be made possible by an investment by the bank HSBC in a joint project including Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech.
The undisclosed HSBC investment will move fuel production to demonstration scale, enough for the flight. However, this year was an earlier commercial production target date. Described as a low carbon fuel, its inventor, LanzaTech, explains that it is produced using microbes that consume industrial waste gases.
When Virgin Atlantic announced in 2011 it was working with LanzaTech, the goals were, a demonstration facility in Shanghai that year, commercial operation in China by 2014 and flights by 2015.
At the time, Virgin Atlantic president, Richard Branson, said: “The steel industry alone is able to deliver over 15 billion gallons of jet fuel annually, the potential is very exciting.” The annual world consumption of jet fuel is about 60 billion gallons. According to Branson, “[the fuel] can be commercially produced at a cost comparable to…jet fuel.”