QANTAS hopes to fuel its jets of the future with fuels produced from discarded food, reconstituted packaging and other household and manufacturing waste.
The airline will team with US-based Solena Fuels to investigate whether waste that passengers leave on its jets can be converted into biofuel.
The airline and Solena plan a year-long feasibility study that could result in a $300 million commercial jet biofuel plant being built in Sydney.
The aim of the joint-venture will aim to convert commercial waste to biofuel using an already approved process that converts coal and gas into commercial-grade aviation fuel.
A similar plant is being built by British Airways in London.
Due to come on line in 2014, the British Airways plant will convert up to 500,000 tonnes of waste a year into 73 million litres of green jet fuel, enough to power 2 per cent of BA’s Heathrow base.
Qantas has had a long-standing interest in biofuels and is a member of the global Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group.
Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth said the airline was closely involved with other industry stakeholders in a “road map” study into the outlook for sustainable aviation fuel development in Australia.
“We are also in discussions with a number of companies about specific fuel-producing technologies,” Ms Wirth said.
“Under an agreement with Solena Fuels, we have committed to investigate the feasibility of a waste-based aviation fuel production plant in Australia.
“We expect to produce a business case for such a plant within 12 months. While we are still in the early stages of this project, the possibilities are exciting”.