The Airbus A330 making Tuesday’s Finnair flight from Helsinki to New York will be running on biofuel partly made from recycled cooking oil from restaurants.
It’s perfectly safe – and Finnair and several other airlines have done it before – but this flight is designed to coincide with the UN Climate Summit taking place in New York and draw attention to the fact that progress is being made on developing environmentally sustainable biofuel.
As Finnair reminds us, “most of an airline’s environmental impact arises from aircraft emissions during flight and switching to a more sustainable fuel source can reduce net CO2 emissions by between 50 and 80 per cent.”
But while everything from used cooking oil to plants, algae, municipal waste, recycled vegetable cooking oil, animal fat and sugarcane have been considered or tested in aircraft in search of safe, alternative, sustainable biofuels, the cost to make that alternative fuel is still at least twice as much – or more – than conventional jet fuel.
But along with Finnair, other airlines, including KLM and Alaska Airlines, airport operators, manufacturers and a variety of governments around the world are working on ways to lower the costs of creating these alternative jet fuels.
So it’s possible that soon you’ll be flying on a jet burning fuel made with old frying oil too.