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Microsoft-backed company uses air pollutant and water to fuel jets: ‘The world needs immediate [change]’

“Microsoft has been an early adopter of sustainable aviation fuel and sees this market as critical for global decarbonization.”

“Microsoft has been an early adopter of sustainable aviation fuel and sees this market as critical for global decarbonization."

Photo Credit: Dimensional Energy

Leaders from New York’s Dimensional Energy are planning to use $20 million in recently confirmed funding to turn crummy air produced by a Canadian cement factory into cleaner plane fuel, surf wax, and a fat alternative for vegan food makers. 

It’s an odd product line connected by air pollution being produced at the Lafarge Richmond Cement Plant in British Columbia. The cement maker has tech at the facility to capture much of the flue gas it churns out, according to the company. 

Now, Dimensional will use the investment — provided by planet-friendly funds from Microsoft, United Airlines, and others — to put the captured pollution to good use, according to a press release. 

The project is big news for the planet, as the cement industry makes up 8% of the world’s air pollution, CBS News reported. Dimensional plans to build a plant that will turn the cement fumes into sustainable aviation fuel, a facility the company calls “the world’s first.” 

“Microsoft has been an early adopter of sustainable aviation fuel and sees this market as critical for global decarbonization, which is why Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund is supporting Dimensional Energy’s work as a direct equity investor,” Microsoft fund senior director Brandon Middaugh said in the Dimensional press release. 

By turning some of the smog into sustainable fuel, the project is changing a detriment into an attribute. The fuel, often called SAF, can greatly reduce the amount of planet-warming fumes produced by airplanes, the U.S. Energy Department reports

“Dimensional is committed to sourcing feedstocks in balance with nature and communities where plants are built,” Dimensional founder Jason Salfi told TechCrunch. 

The other projects are ground-based, made possible by the same technology. The innovation can turn the captured pollution into a “synthetic paraffin that can be refined into over 6,000 everyday products,” per Dimensional. 

As a result, Dimensional is planning to introduce its first business-to-consumer and business-to-business products: “fossil-fuel free” surf wax and a “cruelty-free” fat alternative for vegan food makers, according to the company press release. 

The fuel, food, and wax innovations are examples of how we can support cleaner technology by using smarter products, often saving money as a result. 

Converting air pollution into a cleaner fuel for flying machines should also have sustained commitment from investors. 

“The world needs immediate and rapid decarbonization across all sectors, and Dimensional Energy shows great promise as a cleaner and lower carbon aviation solution alongside reductions in industrial emissions,” Middaugh said in the press release. 

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