Virgin Atlantic Completes First Commercial Flight on Recycled Waste Gas
The Boeing 747 took off from Orlando, Florida and landed in London's Gatwick airport on Wednesday morning.
Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson, who marshaled in the plane, celebrated the flight for making "aviation history."
.@VirginAtlantic has completed the first ever commercial flight using @LanzaTech’s innovative new sustainable aviat… https://t.co/fGie4gMJcq— Richard Branson (@Richard Branson)1538568620.0
The plane was powered by a blend of conventional jet fuel and ethanol produced from waste emissions, a innovation developed by Chicago-based company LanzaTech in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL), a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory.
"The LanzaTech process is so exciting because this fuel takes waste, carbon-rich gases that would otherwise go up the chimneys of steel and aluminium mills and gives them a second life—so that new fossil fuels don't have to be taken out of the ground," Branson said in a blog post. "It's incredible that the factories can make the steel for the planes and then the waste product can be used to power the plane. This is a great opportunity for UK industry as it supports our steel mills while also decarbonizing them."
Boeing is proud of our partnership with @VirginAtlantic and @LanzaTech on this historic 747 flight to use biofuel m… https://t.co/ExxMiqDfL6— Boeing Airplanes (@Boeing Airplanes)1538579766.0
The process is similar to traditional fermentation, but instead of using sugars and yeast to make alcohol, waste carbon-rich gases found at industrial manufacturing sites gets converted by bacteria to fuels and chemicals such as ethanol, according to a PNNL press release.
"This fuel exceeds the properties of petroleum-based jet fuel in terms of efficiency and burns much cleaner," said John Holladay, PNNL's deputy manager for energy efficiency and renewable energy, in the press release. "And by recycling carbon already in the environment—in this case waste gas streams—it lets the world keep more petroleum sequestered the ground. The technology not only provides a viable source of sustainable jet fuel but also reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere."
The Virgin flight's blend consisted of 5 percent recycled waste gas, but could eventually form 50 percent of the blend, the Guardian reported.
Branson said LanzaTech has the potential to produce up to 125 million gallons per year in the UK, or enough to fuel 100 percent of Virgin Atlantic's flights departing Britain.
"This would result in nearly one million tonnes of CO2 savings per year, equivalent to 2,100 roundtrips flights between London Heathrow and JFK airports," he said.
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An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
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Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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