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From waste to wing

Aircraft in the sky of Hong Kong

Our biofuel

Waste, garbage, rubbish – no matter what you call it, you probably know that it is a problem the world over. But what if this environmental problem was used as an environmental solution? That’s the thinking behind Fulcrum Bioenergy, a sustainable biofuel company Cathay is investing in to help us drive down emissions from our flights by turning waste to low-carbon jet fuel!

Municipal solid waste comes from households, public spaces and businesses like shops and restaurants. In Hong Kong, the 2017 data shows that more than 10,000 tonnes of waste is disposed of every day, with 40 percent coming from businesses. Fulcrum saw a similar problem in the USA and developed technology to solve two problems at once; too much waste and too many greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Cathay Pacific will be one of the first airlines to fly on fuel produced by Fulcrum.

*Compared to traditional jet fuel, sustainable biofuel can reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.

Waste services companies deliver the waste to the Fulcrum factory. The waste is separated into organic material such as food waste and natural materials, and inorganic material such as plastics and metal. The organic waste contains carbon and hydrogen, the building blocks for jet fuel. To extract these the organic waste is processed through machines which use extremely high heat to turn the waste into a gas. The gas is then cleaned to remove carbon dioxide and unwanted particles before the final processing steps turn it into jet fuel.

With this innovative technology we are able to produce biofuel without having to compete with land used for crops. In fact, the process actually reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 80% when compared to traditional fossil fuel-based jet fuels, while reducing the amount of waste disposed and the amount of land needed for landfills. At Cathay we always look to reduce, reuse and recycle. However, if waste is unavoidable, we’re proud to be leading the way in using it as a resource.