Passenger Plane Makes First Flight on Synthetic Jet Fuel

Airplanes are often considered an “efficient” mode of travel because they can transport hundreds of passengers great distances on comparatively little fuel. Alas, they do use quite a bit of jet fuel, and their contribution to overall emissions output is certainly not negligible. When/if oil supplies soon get tight or run out, you can bet the cost of plane tickets will be among the first fares to skyrocket… unless they can come up with a substitute fuel that doesn’t use petroleum.

Sasol Technology claims to have done just that. A plane using their fully-synthetic jet fuel just completed the first ever flight using synthetic fuels by flying 865 miles from Gauteng to Cape Town in South Africa. Is this the start of a new jet age?

I will admit that I am out of my element when it comes to discussing synthetic fuels, so if you know more than me, by all means chime in. From what I can gather from the press release, the A-1 jet fuel is made through a process that turns coal into a liquid, and Sasol claims this produces far fewer emissions than regular petrol-based jet fuel. The thing with jet turbines is that they can run on just about any combustible fluid. How coal can be dramatically cleaner than petrol, I just don’t know. I’m willing to take their word on it for now, and it does provide an important alternative to petrol-based jet fuel.

I just don’t expect there to be widespread adoption of this fuel anytime soon. A jet fuel derived from coal may be cleaner than other jet fuel… but I am sure there are even cleaner alternatives out there being developed. There is something to be said for being first though. Kudos to Sasol.

Source: Sasol | AutoBlogGreen

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.