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IPFS News Link • Energy

Scientists Are Making Jet Fuel from Landfill Gas Aiming to Launch Circular Economy

•, By Andy Corbley

Offering the potential to clear two hurdles in a single leap, the scientists believe that if their process becomes cost-effective and widespread, all the world's landfills could potentially be energy sources.

Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. According to the International Energy Agency, the concentration of methane in the atmosphere is currently around two-and-a-half times greater than pre-industrial levels, and while methane only exists in the atmosphere for about 9 years, it's increasing steadily, with waste emissions and the burning of fossil fuels accounting for a significant proportion.

Australia recently joined the international methane mitigation agreement with the United States, the European Union, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

"Globally, landfills are a major emitter of greenhouse gases, mainly a mixture of CO2 and methane. We have developed a process that would take these gases and convert them into fuels, targeting sectors that are difficult to electrify, like aviation," said lead author, Professor PJ Cullen from the University of Sydney's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

"Modern landfill facilities already capture, upgrade, and combust their gas emissions for electricity generation, however, our process creates a much more environmentally impactful and commercially valuable product," he said.

Global landfill emissions are estimated at 10–20 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, a value comparable to the emissions of the global energy sector.

Aviation currently accounts for approximately 3% of the world's emissions. Creating a "closed loop" fuel based on existing emissions would eliminate the need for traditional and sustainable jet fuels, which add further emissions into the atmosphere.

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