A planning application to develop what is expected to be Europe’s first commercial scale household and commercial solid waste to sustainable fuels plant has been submitted by a consortium of partners, including British Airways, in North East Lincolnshire.
The project is being developed by Altalto Immingham Limited, a subsidiary of Velocys – a technology spin-out of Oxford University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the US – as well as British Airways and Shell.
The site is near Immingham, close to the Humber Estuary. The plant would take over half a million tonnes each year of non-recyclable municipal waste otherwise destined for landfill or incineration, and convert it into cleaner burning sustainable aviation and road fuel.
The technology, integrated by Velocys, is claimed to enable a net 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for each tonne of sustainable jet fuel that displaces a tonne of conventional fuel. The greenhouse gas reductions achieved from the plant’s annual output are equivalent to up to 40,000 standard size petrol engine cars.
The fuel is also said to be better than conventional fuel for air quality, with up to 90% reduction in particulate matter (soot) from aircraft engine exhausts and almost 100% reduction in sulphur oxides; and the technology offers a lower emissions route to process UK waste than incineration or landfill.
The development is also anticipated to bring hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, hundreds of jobs during construction and approximately 130 permanent jobs into the region.
Domestically producing the fuel will have the added benefit of improving the UK’s fuel supply and resilience given the UK currently imports more than 70% of its jet fuel from abroad.
Henrik Wareborn, CEO at Velocys:
“Velocys has a solution to decarbonise aviation fuel by converting an unwanted feedstock – household and commercial solid waste – to create a highly valuable product: sustainable transport fuels.
“This will cut greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, as well as improving air quality and helping to tackle our waste problem. This is a vital step towards the ultimate goal of living in a net zero carbon world by the middle of the century.”
Alex Cruz, British Airways Chairman and CEO:
“The submission of the planning application marks a major milestone in this project and we are delighted with the progress being made. Sustainable fuels can be a game changer for aviation which will help power our aircraft for years to come.
“This development is an important step in the reduction of our carbon emissions and meeting the industry targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020, and a 50% in CO2 reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels. It also brings the UK another step closer to becoming a global leader in sustainable aviation fuels.”
Jonathon Counsell, Head of Sustainability at International Airlines Group, British Airways’ parent company:
“This is a fantastic step forward for the project. We strongly welcomed the inclusion of sustainable aviation fuels into the renewable transport fuels policy framework and call on Government to continue to provide support given the significant near-term opportunities offered by these fuels.
“Specifically, we strongly believe a dedicated Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (OSAF) will provide the essential cross-government co-ordination necessary to progress the development and commercial deployment of sustainable aviation fuel and would welcome Government support in setting this up at the earliest opportunity.”
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