Jeremy's vision crystallised when he reached agreement with Plasticenegry, a Spanish based company, producing fuel made from end of life plastic. What emerged was the perfect marriage between the man, inspired by the barnstorming pilots of the 1930s with a mission to spread the word about marine plastic pollution, and a company passionate about the environment, delivering on the sustainable circular economy.
The project dubbed 'On Wings of Waste' was born. Jeremy will fly a WAM RV-9 two seater aircraft from San Francisco WAM RV9 aircraft from Silicon Valley, the innovate technological hub of the world to Anchorage, the climate change frontier, leaving on Monday, August 1 and being filmed for a documentary that will examine and demonstrate new environmentally friendly technologies. The 'On Wings of Waste' flight is an ambitious, daring and historic initiative to raise awareness about end of life plastic waste in our oceans and to highlight its potential benefits as a new source of fuel.
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Here is a quick 2min video featuring Pilot Jeremy Rowsell and Sir David Attenborough to further explain this historic flight from Australia to London in a small single engine plane fuelled from refined plastics pulled directly from the ocean.
To test our proposition that end of life plastic waste can be used as an alternative fuel for aircraft, as well as other machines, we need to go through a demanding process to prove it can have a practical and universal use.
Unlike fuels for other vehicles, the most common aviation fuel – avgas – still contains lead which is toxic and damaging to the environment. So the benefits of the flight are twofold. It represents a breakthrough in fuel technology, helping to clean up end of life plastics whilst also generating a globally sustainable energy source.
In 2011, pilot Jeremy Rowsell flew across the Pacific to retrace the epic “Southern Cross” flight endeavour of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Sir Charles Ulm in a tiny single engine light aircraft. The purpose of this flight was to raise awareness and money for the heroic daily work of the Royal Flying Doctors pilots. The flight was a catalyst for On Wings of Waste and led to the planning and training provided by Zerorisk for current campaign.
The On Wings of Waste flight is an ambitious and unique project to raise awareness about plastic waste and to highlight its potential benefits as a new source of fuel. The initial plan to fly half way across the world using fuel derived from plastic waste, stemmed from Jeremy’s fascination with the 1930’s pioneering aviators; their incredible, often dangerous, journeys, their tales of survival and their desire to break new records. What Jeremy shares with the pilots of yesteryear is the determination and tenacity to make a difference in the world, to help pioneer change and inform the world. His flight from San Francisco to Anchorage is the precursor to more ambitious ‘plastic’ fuel tests.
On Wings of Waste is based on scientific evidence that fuel derived from end of life plastic waste is capable of driving a light aircraft on this epic journey. The team from On Wings of Waste have connected with Spanish company Plasticenegry, a pioneering plastics-to-fuel technology company, which has developed commercially viable plastic to diesel fuel conversion.
The fuel uses end of life plastic, that would otherwise end up in ocean garbage patches or landfill, where it takes hundreds of years to degrade the waste into recyclable materials. On average 900litres per tonne of fuel and 5% char per tonne of fuel is produced. Out of this conversion they produce 70% diesel & kerosene and 20% naphtha. To date the plastic fuel has been approved as diesel which is suitable for all standard diesel engines.
Jeremy’s inspiration for this flight came from meeting with Jo Ruxton, BBC Blue Planet producer, who had filmed the impact of plastic in our oceans. ‘On Wings of Waste’ aims to raise awareness about this issue and to bring global attention to the need to put a value on plastic waste and enable people to become involved in the creation of awareness and solutions that lower the carbon footprint, reduce the volume of waste pouring into the oceans and cut the cost of energy worldwide.
Jeremy began his career as a pilot when he was aged 15 and in his time as a pilot he has flown aerobatics, volunteered for the Royal Flying Doctors service and undertaken a series of adventures in single engine aeroplanes.
Over time, Jeremy has also become an environmental pioneer, seeking to develop sustainable solutions to the worlds increasing pollution exposures. To Jeremy, On Wings of Waste represents a chance to find an economically viable way to protect our most precious natural assets.
Tony Loughran is a former British commando, who during his 14 years in the armed forces worked around the world from Norway to Belize.
Now he trains journalists in risk management and basic survival techniques. Tony led the BBC's High Risk Unit, but he now lives in Australia, working with Australian and Asian networks.