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Used cooking grease fuels jet

Airplane makes cross-country trip fueled in part by used cooking grease.
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Written by Amy Kraft, Weekend Editor on

Last November an Alaskan Airlines jet flew from Seattle to Washington D.C. powered in part by recycled cooking oil.

The airline company tested a blend of cooking grease and conventional aircraft fuel on 75 flights in an effort to find a viable alternative to traditional petroleum-based fuel.

Although kitchen grease is more environmentally friendly than traditional fuel, the results of the test flights show it is not yet practical because of a low supply and a high price.

Irene Klotz reported for Discovery News:

"Even pulling off 75 flights required some creative - and expensive - logistics. There wasn't enough used cooking oil and restaurant grease on the west coast, so a supplier tapped restaurants in the south, which apparently has a heartier business in frying foods."

And the alternative fuel cost $17 a gallon, nearly six times as much as petroleum-based fuel.

But this is only the beginning of thinking about aircraft fuel alternatives. Aircraft manufacturers are working on a variety of environmental strategies to help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Continental Airlines has already flown a Boeing 737 powered by algae-based biofuel and Lufthansa has been using a 50/50 mixture of conventional fuel and biofuel on its flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt since last July.

Greasing the Jets with French Fry Oil [Discovery News]

Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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