Fans of McDonald’s french fries just got a fantastic reason to go back for a second helping.
The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is looking for a new sustainable source of jet fuel and they might have just found it… by repurposing McDonald’s used french fry cookie oil.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Uses McDonald’s Cooking Oil As Jet Fuel
As reported by NBC News, the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is one of the first major airports to covert old McDonald’s french fry cooking oil into jet fuel in an effort to create a more sustainable source of energy.
The used cooking oil that comes from McDonald’s fast-food restaurants at the Dallas airport is being repurposed and converted into fuel to power one of the major hubs’ many airliners.
One DFW McDonald’s franchisee, Chalmer McWilliams, told the outlet, “If you are Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and you have a fryer in your restaurant — you’re recycling oil.”
“When it’s no longer at the quality to make those great fries and we can repurpose it, why wouldn’t you do that?” he asked.
Pratik Chandhoke, the technical services manager for sustainable aviation fuel at Houston-based Neste US Inc., said the chemical compositions of McDonald’s cooking oil and jet fuel are actually more similar than one might think.
The McDonald’s cooking oil, which is also used to cook the chain’s infamous McNuggets, is heated and hydrogen is added. The used french fry cooking oil then undergoes a complicated process that turns the wasted oil into jet fuel that can be used as a more sustainable source of energy.
Chandhoke said that fry-based fuel has the same chemical composition as any other petroleum fuel that is currently used to power jets all across the country. “If you look at any oil, they all have these building molecules, hydrocarbons,” Chandhoke said. “We can take those atoms, and we then do some processing magic in our refineries, and we actually mimic the chemistry of a jet fuel.”
“There’s no difference,” he added. “It’s the same jet fuel that you are using right now.”
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Isn’t The Only Airport That’s Looking To Become More Sustainable
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is only one of many airports around the country that is looking into more renewable sources of fuel. San Francisco International Airport said that it’s planning on cutting out fossil jet fuel by 2050.
In Dallas, about 32,000 pounds of cooking oil from McDonald’s restaurants are recycled to be used to make sustainable aviation fuel, which is frequently referred to as SAF.
According to Neste, using cooking oil for jet fuel is an efficient way to create energy and reduce waste at the same time, as one gallon of recycled cooking oil reportedly creates about three-quarters of a gallon of SAF.
However, one of the major drawbacks of SAF is the price, which is reportedly two to six times higher than the cost of traditional jet fuel. However, as more restaurants begin to recycle their old cooking oil, airport officials believe that the cost will eventually even out.
Robert Horton, DFW’s vice president of environmental affairs, told the network, “We already believe we have the infrastructure setup. We have fuel distribution systems. If we can get continuous supply at the right economic rates, we have a drop-in solution that can be applied right here.”