The grease American’s love to cook their french fries and chicken wings in, is now being used to power flights across the Atlantic.
The oil for the flight on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines comes from Louisiana and consists of waste oil left over from frying up spicey Cajun food.
The fuel is then brought to New York’s JFK Airport to drive the engines of the Boeing 777 aircraft for flights from the Big Apple to Amsterdam.
Leftover oil from crawfish and catfish is refined at a plant near Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
A similar system is in place at the other end in Holland where oil from restaurants and food plants is used.
KLM Executive, Camiel Eurlings told the New York Post: ‘I was with the guy fueling the plane this morning, and he said it smelled like fries.’
The eco-friendly jumbo jet is fueled by a blend of 25 percent cooking oil and 75 percent jet fuel. The flights will depart every week for the next six months.
The pilots say the cooking oil works like regular jet fuel and does not require any special treatment by airline flight and maintenance crews.
Jos Nijhuis, president of the Schiphol Group, a Dutch firm investing in the KLM flight series said it was just like any other regular flight: ‘We came here on used cooking fat. The first question when we landed was, ‘Was it smelly?’ No, it wasn’t smelly,’ he laughed.
It is the first time a biofuel will be used on a regular schedule on trans-Atlantic flights, although KLM has been using cooking-oil-based fuel on passenger flights in Europe since September 2011.
Although the fuel maybe greener, reducing carbon emissions by up to 80 percent, it’s also more expensive – costing around three times the price of regular aviation fuel at $10 per gallon.
It might be some time before the fuel is used to run more planes on long-haul routes such as this.
Although New York restaurants turn over 50 million gallons of waste cooking oil a year, most of it goes towards powering diesel vehicles or used in home heating oil.
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