British Airways planes will be flying using fuel manufactured from landfill-waste in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint as the company has signed a deal to build an innovative plant.
The deal between the airline and an Essex-based Solena Fuels will see British Airways purchasing all 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel produced in the foreseen plant at the Thames Enterprise Park. The factory at the site of the former Coryton refinery in Thurrock, Essex will offer 150 permanent jobs while up to 1,000 workers will be hired during the construction process.
BA flights could be running on the green fuel as early as 2017.
"We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry,” said Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA's parent company IAG.
"The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for BA to reduce its carbon emissions significantly," he said, adding that the venture will enable the company to reduce its CO2 emissions by the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the roads.
Approximately 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, will be converted into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels using Solena’s patented high temperature plasma gasification technology converting the waste efficiently into synthetic gas. The gas will then be converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third party technologies which will include cleaning and conditioning of the gas, a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production.
“We are excited to help British Airways achieve its sustainability goals by providing an innovative solution to produce drop-in jet fuel,” said Robert Do, president and CEO of Solena Fuels. “We anticipate starting construction of the site in approximately 12 months after all the requisite permits and agreements have been obtained. We are looking forward to successfully building GreenSky London and partnering with British Airways on additional facilities in the United Kingdom.”
Thames Enterprise Park and neighbouring Thames Oilport, established in 2012, is a joint venture with Greenergy as one of the investors and the site project facilitator.
“This is an ideal site for a biofuel initiative like Solena’s and we are very pleased to be associated with it,” said Andrew Owens, chief executive of Greenergy. “It is located on the Thames with fuel storage and fuel pipelines and good road, rail and jetty infrastructure.”
The announcement comes just two weeks before the global aviation community joins forces to discuss ways to reduce the industry’s environmental impact at the 2014 Global Sustainable Aviation Summit in Geneva.