Plans to mass-produce jet fuel from restaurants' waste kitchen oil will come a step closer in China next year when a major state-owned refiner begins construction of a full-scale production plant.
Zhenhai Refining and Chemical, a Sinopec subsidiary based in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, said the plant would convert 100,000 tonnes of leftover kitchen oil into 30,000 tonnes of aviation-grade biofuel a year.
The fuel would be sold to airlines operating long-haul international flights, especially to countries that charged high emissions taxes, it said.
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Although biofuel does not add extra carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, since it originally comes from plants or animals that are part of the biological cycle, some researchers have argued it is not suitable for long-term storage and might constrict or even block fuel flow in pipelines because of its tendency to form a gel at low temperatures.
In another blow to its aviation prospects, the US Air Force reported last year that jet fighters using biofuel had been infested by thriving colonies of bacterium that threatened the safety of mechanical and electronic components.