Plastic to Fuel Cessna Plane; Flight Planned from Australia to Britain

February 28, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

With the intention of break new grounds in alternative energy, Australian pilot Jeremy Rowsell is all set to fly from Australia to Britain in an airplane powered entirely by plastic waste.

The fuel is created by carefully heating plastic waste in the absence of oxygen. This process, which is called pyrolysis, creates a fuel that is essentially the same as petroleum.

The whole go eco-friendly package is named ‘Wings of Waste’ and this Cessna plane will fly from Sydney to London via Asia, the Middle East, and Europe using fuel refined from materials such as plastic bags and other non-degradable entities.

plasticfuel

Rowsell won’t actually manufacture the fuel himself. That’s the job of Cynar plc, a Dublin, Ireland company that will convert the plastic into aviation grade diesel using the pyrolysis process.

The idea is to prove that aviation does not have to continue relying on its traditional CO2-emitting fossil fuels, and at the same time, it can diminish the world’s suffocating plastic problem.

Rowsell takes inspiration from his aviator heroes of the 1920s and 30s: Australians like Charles Kingsford Smith who in 1928 made the world’s first U.S.-to-Australia trans-Pacific journey; and Bert Hinkler, who flew the first solo flight from England to Australia, also in 1928.

Despite fractional distillation, the fuel still produces emissions when burned. But they are slightly cleaner than traditional transport fuels. But he is trying to raise awareness that plastic waste can be turned into everyday useful things.

The adventurous flight won’t mark the first single engine journey from Australia to the UK, but it would certainly be the first such journey using the novel fuel.

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