(!?) Liverpool John Lennon Airport pioneers technology that converts passenger breath into biofuel
31.1.2009 (Liverpool Echo)
By Barry Turnbull
Ian Houston who designed technology to capture Co2 emissions from passengers
& recycle it into Biodiesel at Liverpool John Lennon airport.
LIVERPOOL John Lennon Airport is the world’s first airport to trial a revolutionary
machine that will convert the breath of passengers into biofuel.
A pioneering piece of kit called the Eco-box will be able to capture CO ² exhaled
by travellers for recycling into fuel to be used in the airport’s diesel vehicles
and heating system.
Origo Industries, based at Daresbury Laboratory science and innovation campus
near Warrington, has devised a technique to feed captured emissions to algae,
to produce a biomass cake that can be converted into green fuel.
Origo’s founder and chief executive, Ian Houston, first hit on the idea of the
Eco-box as a way of reducing carbon emissions from his own gas-guzzling Mitsubishi
The former Army ballistics expert says the applications are limitless.
“The project at the airport is an early trial of a system which we believe could
have a significant impact on the way companies today can obtain fuel and manage
“If it works there, then why not anywhere? Forward-thinking companies like
John Lennon Airport realise that mitigating an environmental impact and saving
money can go hand in hand.”
Installation will begin in the next few weeks and Origo hopes the system will
provide up to 250 litres of biofuel a day.
If the trial proves successful, a larger system could be installed that could
potentially generate as much as 3,000 litres of biofuel every day. The costs of
the trial have not been disclosed, but Origo claims the initial investment could
be repaid within a year.
Mr Houston has taken technolo- gies that are already available and pieced them
together to create an on-site recycling process – something no-one else has done.
“Liverpool John Lennon is committed to being at the forefront of technology and
to reducing the environmental impact of air travel wherever practical,” said Andrew
Dutton, the airport’s head of environment.
“We are extremely interested in both current and potential future technical options
and initiatives that could help to mitigate our environmental impact.
“Origo’s carbon capture and recycling technology is potentially a huge step in
the right direction for the airport and the environment.”
The airport has previously planted trees to try and offset CO2 emissions.
Mr Houston has had support from The Mersey Partnership and the city council.
Cllr Berni Turner, executive member for the environment, said of the Eco-box
plan: “This is an exciting first for Liverpool in the city’s year of the environment.
“We know airports are part of the big debate about emissions so I’m delighted
to see Liverpool John Lennon Airport taking a lead on this issue.”
HMP Liverpool at Walton is also believed to be considering installing an Eco-box.