Over the past twelve months, international travel has been reduced massively as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Whilst business and freight transport has continued – albeit sometimes at a reduced capacity – personal international travel all but came to a standstill for a large part of the year.
Aviation is one of humankind’s greatest inventions and it’s unlocked the world in ways which we might never have imagined a few hundred years back. That said, aviation fuel – as effective as it is at powering planes – isn’t the best for the environment. Several companies are looking to change that, however; the team here at TriStone Holdings, a prominent UK oil investment company, wanted to look at how the industry is trying to clean up its airways!
Jet Fuel Made From… Seawater?
There are two main avenues in which scientists can look down to improve the sustainability of air travel and aviation fuel, in particular. They can either look at refining and improving existing fuels or look at creating entirely new ones. The option we’ll be looking at here falls under the latter option. Concocted by the minds of people far smarter than I at the University of Manchester, the creation of a biofuel made entirely from seawater has the potential to revolutionise the aviation fuel sector.
How is the fuel made, though? And how does it work? The fuel is made from Halomonas bacteria and is found in seawater (a clue being that the prefix ‘halo’ refers to something saline or salty). It burns cleanly and is producible on an economically viable scale. Containing no impurities, the ultimate biofuel will end up purely as carbon dioxide (the production of which can be offset in the bacteria’s production/growth) and water.
How far away are we from seeing this fuel turned into an everyday reality? Probably at least another half a decade or so, and that’s if it’s pushed at a quick rate. Still, though, it’s a remarkable find that could well help the air industry run cleaner. Who would’ve thought that the answer to the skies would be in the seas?
Business Megalith ‘Amazon’ Is Playing Its Part, Too
We probably all ordered more Amazon packages than ever before, last year, and Amazon has recognised that its logistics, distribution and supply chain networks hinge on heavy use of aviation as well as shipping. Because of this, it’s looked at developing cleaner aviation fuels such as the hydrogen-based biofuel (that’s been termed an electrofuel) that’s carbon-zero in terms of emissions.
Again, though, just as with the seawater option previously mentioned, the issue is in scale of production. The company is looking to build a large production plant for this fuel over the coming years, and it will be interesting to see how this fledgling sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) movement progresses.
Cleaner Kerosene Jet Fuel
Other companies have been looking to utilise no-recyclable waste plastics as a means of creating cleaner jet fuel. The company Clean Planet Energy, for example, only recently announced its so-called Ultra Clean Jet Fuel. The certified kerosene/jet fuel produces, according to them, 75% less CO2 annually, when compared with conventional jet fuels, as well as a staggering 850 times reduction in the number of NOx and SOx pollutants. What we’re seeing, then, is scientists making use of even waste products as a means of generating something genuinely useful.
As with so many things, there’s probably not one definitive solution. We can say with a fair degree of certainty, however, that the future of aviation will increasingly involve the production of these newer sustainable aviation fuels as well as the innovative reinvention of existing fossil fuels used within the industry. With the pandemic (hopefully) coming towards an end, aviation levels will inevitably pick back up. When they do, it will be interesting to see just how this niche of industry develops.
Aviation aside, the oil and gas sector is in an interesting position at the minute, what with coming out of the pandemic and all. If you’d like to find out more about our work as an oil investment company, then get in touch! Contact TriStone Holdings today on 0800 055 7079 or by emailing us at [email protected] Alternatively, you can message us one of our various social media platforms and we’ll happily get back to you there, as well!