Virgin plans for new aviation fuel made from waste gas from steel production

Virgin Atlantic is to develop a low carbon aviation fuel, which it hope will
have half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative.  It is
developing the fuel with LanzaTech and claims it is a breakthrough. The fuel will
use waste gases from industrial steel production which will be captured,  and
chemically converted (Fischer Tropsch) using Swedish Biofuels technology for use
as a jet fuel. The gas otherwise would be burnt/vented to produce CO2.


Virgin engages in low-carbon fuel partnership

11.10.2011 (Flight Global)

Virgin Atlantic is partnering with energy specialist LanzaTech to aid development
of low-carbon fuel.

It intends to use the new fuel within three years on routes between London Heathrow
and Shanghai and Delhi.

LanzaTech will develop facilities in China and India to support the plan.

Shanghai is to have a demonstration facility in place this year and China will
open a commercial operation in 2014.

The UK carrier said the process involves taking waste gas from industrial steel
production and chemically converting it using technology from Stockholm-based
Swedish Biofuels.

Virgin said the process recycles gas which would otherwise be vented as carbon

LanzaTech estimates that two-thirds of steel mills could adopt the process, enabling
broad application to support the air transport industry.

Virgin chairman Richard Branson, speaking at an event in London, said the steel
industry could potentially supply over 15 billion gallons of fuel per year.

“This new technology is scalable, sustainable and can be commercially produced
at a cost comparable to conventional jet fuel,” he added.

LanzaTech chief Jennifer Holmgren said the technology would allow airlines to
“dramatically reduce” carbon footprints.

Virgin said it is aiming to cut carbon levels per passenger-kilometre by 30%
by 2020 and that the new partnership would take the carrier “well beyond” that

see also



Virgin unveils fuel breakthrough

11.10.2011 (TravelMole)

Virgin Atlantic is to develop a low carbon aviation fuel with half the carbon
footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative.

Claiming it as a world-first, the airline is developing the fuel with LanzaTech
and said it “represents a breakthrough in aviation fuel technology”.

The fuel will use waste gases from industrial steel production which will be
captured, fermented and chemically converted using Swedish Biofuels technology
for use as a jet fuel.

“The revolutionary fuel production process recycles waste gases that would otherwise
be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide,” said Virgin.

The airline plans to use the fuel on flights from Shanghai and Delhi to London
Heathrow within two to three years.

A ‘demo’ flight with the new fuel is planned in 12-18 months.

LanzaTech estimates that its process can apply to 65% of the world’s steel mills,
which means the fuel can be rolled out for worldwide commercial use.

It also believes this process can apply to metals processing and chemical industries,
growing its potential considerably further.

Virgin president Sir Richard Branson, said: “We were the first commercial airline
to test a bio-fuel flight and we continue to lead the airline industry as the
pioneer of sustainable aviation.

“This partnership to produce a next generation, low-carbon aviation fuel is a
major step towards radically reducing our carbon footprint, and we are excited
about the savings that this technology could help us achieve.

“With oil running out, it is important that new fuel solutions are sustainable,
and with the steel industry alone able to deliver over 15 billion gallons of jet
fuel annually, the potential is very exciting.

“This new technology is scalable, sustainable and can be commercially produced
at a cost comparable to conventional jet fuel.”!vnm


Wikipedia on Blast Furnace Gas says:

Blast furnace gas (BFG)[1] is a by-product of blast furnaces that is generated
when the iron ore is reduced with coke to metallic iron. It has a very low heating
value, about 93 BTU/cubic foot, because it consists of about 60 percent nitrogen,
18-20% carbon dioxide and some oxygen, which are not flammable.  The rest is mostly
carbon monoxide, which has a fairly low heating value already. It is commonly
used as a fuel within the steel works, but it can be used in boilers and power
plants equipped to burn it. It may be combined with natural gas or coke oven gas
before combustion or a flame support with richer gas or oil is provided to sustain
combustion. Particulate matter is removed so that it can be burned more cleanly.
Blast furnace gas is sometimes flared without generating heat or electricity.

Blast Furnace Gas is generated at higher pressure and at about 100 °C (212 °F)-150
°C (302 °F) deg.C in a modern Blast Furnace. This pressure is utilized to operate
a generator (Top-gas-pressure Recovery Turbine – i.e.TRT in short), which can
generate electrical energy up to 35 kwh/t of pig iron without burning any fuel.
Dry type TRTs can generate more power than wet type TRT.

Auto ignition point of blast furnace gas is approxmiate 630 °C (1,166 °F)-650
°C (1,202 °F) and it has LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) of 27% & UEL (Upper Explosive
Limit) of 75% in an air-gas mixture at normal temperature and pressure.

Higher concentration of carbon monoxide makes the gas hazardous.




which says coke oven gas contains around 32% methane and 51% hydrogen

Coal or coke oven gas typically had a calorific value between 10 and 20 MJ/m³
(250-550 Btu/ft3 (std)); with values around 20 MJ/m³ (550 Btu/ft3 (std)) being


The Fischer–Tropsch process (or Fischer–Tropsch synthesis) is a set of chemical
reactions that convert a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons.
The process, a key component of gas to liquids technology, produces a petroleum
substitute, typically from coal, natural gas, or biomass for use as synthetic
lubrication oil and as synthetic fuel.[1] The F–T process has received intermittent
attention as a source of low-sulfur diesel fuel and to address the supply or cost
of petroleum-derived hydrocarbons.

Generally, the Fischer–Tropsch process is operated in the temperature range of
150–300 °C (302–572 °F). Higher temperatures lead to faster reactions and higher
conversion rates but also tend to favor methane production. As a result, the temperature
is usually maintained at the low to middle part of the range. Increasing the pressure
leads to higher conversion rates and also favors formation of long-chained alkanes
both of which are desirable. Typical pressures range from one to several tens
of atmospheres. Even higher pressures would be favorable, but the benefits may
not justify the additional costs of high-pressure equipment and higher pressures
can leading to catalyst deactivation via coke formation.

A variety of synthesis gas compositions can be used. For cobalt-based catalysts
the optimal H2:CO ratio is around 1.8–2.1. Iron-based catalysts promote the water-gas-shift
reaction and thus can tolerate significantly lower ratios. This reactivity can
be important for synthesis gas derived from coal or biomass, which tend to have
relatively low H2:CO ratios (<1).