London: In a first-of-its kind attempt, an Australian pilot plans a 16,898 kilometre historic trip from Sydney to London using fuel produced entirely from plastic waste. Forty one-year-old Jeremy Rowsell's flight will be powered by five tonnes of discarded packaging, waste collected from rubbish dumps and — using a pioneering technique — melted down into 1,000 gallons of aviation-grade diesel.
In July, he will embark on the journey from Sydney, flying over Asia, the Middle East and then Europe, and arrive in London six days later, after flying a single-engine Cessna 172 at about 2414 km a day with a speed of about 185kph.
Rowsell will have to fly for up to 15-hour stretches to reach his scheduled stops on time, the 'Telegraph' reported. He will travel at an altitude of 5,000ft — much lower than commercial airliners, which reach up to 40,000ft on long-haul flights.
The fuel will be sourced solely from the so-called "end-of-life" plastic that cannot be recycled and would otherwise end up as landfill, including household waste such as packaging and wrapping.
The plastic will be collected from the countries in which Rowsell is scheduled to stop along the way and shipped to Cynar, the Dublin firm that will help process the waste into aviation-grade diesel.
Recent technological advances have made it possible to distill plastic — most of which is petroleumbased — into fuel, using a process known as pyrolysis that does not pollute the air.
Cynar claims its plastic waste diesel fuel is cleaner than that used by most planes, its production process is cleaner, and it estimates a lower cost per gallon.
Although it has been tested in cars, it is in the very early stages of aero engine tests and has never been used in flight, the report said. Rowsell, a hobby pilot, decided to undertake the trip to raise awareness of new technologies that are exploring viable, environmentally friendly ways to fly, while also cutting down amount of plastic waste in landfills around the world. PTI