Food waste-based biofuel could help airlines reduce their carbon footprint

Overhauling current air transportation and transitioning to electric motors is essential for shifting the industry towards zero-carbon, but this process will take time and we need a solution now that will make a significant dent in growing greenhouse gas emissions.

Biofuels could be one immediate way to reduce those emissions, and a recent study has found that food waste could be a key ingredient in the production of these cleaner fuels.

Coming from scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the new research found that fermenting food waste can be broken down into compounds very similar to the fossil fuels that power jet engines.

To create the biofuel, the scientists converted food waste into the base molecules that make up jet fuel and found that it works extremely well with the jet engines powering some of the most common airplane models cruising our skies today.

The new food scraps-based biofuel has the potential to make up 30 percent of the blend that goes into planes, without sacrificing functionality. For now, it won’t be able to make up more than 10 percent of that amount because of industry standards, but this could change with updated regulations.

Even just reducing emissions by 10 percent would go a long way in shrinking the industry’s humongous carbon footprint, especially since all that food waste would otherwise end up in a dump emitting greenhouse gases anyway.

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