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Orbex to use Calor BioLPG for Prime launch

Posted on 06 Dec 2021 and read 1509 times
Orbex to use Calor BioLPG for Prime launchOrbex and Calor have entered into an agreement that will see the iconic UK gas company supply the ultra-low-carbon fuel that will launch the first Orbex Prime rocket from UK soil.

Under the terms of the deal, Calor will supply Orbex with its BioLPG solution, a clean-burning propane produced from renewable feedstocks such as plant and vegetable waste material. This reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80% compared to sourcing conventional liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from fossil sources.

Calor will also install BioLPG tanks and related infrastructure at the Orbex Launchpad Test Platform (LTP) facility currently being constructed at a dedicated test site close to the Orbex headquarters in Forres, Scotland. The facility is expected to be fully operational by early 2022, paving the way for Orbex to launch the Prime rocket from Spaceport Sutherland in the North of Scotland later in the year.

The use of Calor’s BioLPG instead of conventional rocket fuels such as refined fossil kerosene products like Rocket Propellent-1 (RP-1) is a key element in Orbex’s mission to make Prime the world’s most environment-friendly space rocket.

A recent study by the University of Exeter found that a single Prime launch would produce up to 96% lower emissions than a similar-size launch vehicle powered by fossil fuels – the result of almost entirely eliminating black carbon emissions.

Orbex CEO Chris Larmour said: “Environmental sustainability is built into the heart of Prime and we are proud to be the first commercial orbital space launch company to use a renewable, carbon-friendly fuel. The partnership with Calor, one of the UK’s most well-known brands, is an important step on our mission to develop a fully sustainable solution that avoids the huge carbon emissions profiles of old-fashioned fossil-fuelled launches still being deployed by many rocket companies today."

Alastair Lovell, head of sustainable fuels at Calor, said: “We are delighted to partner with Orbex in such an exciting project as orbital space launch. Orbex is clearly leading the industry with sustainable solutions in the same way that Calor is leading the way in providing low-carbon energy solutions for off-grid customers.”

He concluded: “This partnership demonstrates our shared values of reducing carbon emissions and we are proud to be able to supply BioLPG to achieve this goal.”