In light of recent promotional statements from technology providers, governments, and academic and research institutions, these publications look at the proposed application of converting municipal waste into fuel, namely for gas turbine aircraft engines. Such proposed solutions tend to facilitate a façade which outwardly supports corporate and governmental responsibility in the short term, but in the long term, provide a distracting diversion from the need to reduce waste production, ban single-use plastic, and leave fossil fuels in the ground.
The reality of waste-derived fuels: up in the air
There are no easy paths to sustainability for aviation. Greater efficiency in engines and operations would be an improvement, but the industry will still remain locked into its reliance on fossil fuels. Proposing to make alternative fuel from municipal waste is not, however, the answer. When one takes away the vacuous claims of ‘proof’, the PR-driven media narrative control, the churnalism, and the projections based on unsubstantiated life cycle analysis, all that remains is speculation in terms of potential viability, environmental impact, and sustainability.
Jet Fuels Made From Municipal Waste
Waste-derived fuels have long failed to materialize, and the bar is raised even higher for jet fuels; they must perform consistently and safely in extreme conditions, adapting to varying altitudes and pressures. Jet fuels must meet the highest and the latest standards in order to avoid problems associated with jets handling multiple fuel types, especially because of the long working life of commercial jet engines. However, meeting such rigid specifications is nowhere in sight for waste-derived fuel production.