The British airline is partnering with US bioenergy firm Solena Fuels to create the world’s first facility in Essex to produce sustainable aviation fuel. According to BA, the sustainable jet fuel “produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road”.

A BA spokesman told “The plant will use refuse derived fuel (RDF), produced from municipal solid waste (MSW). The RDF is produced by sorting out the recyclable materials such as plastics, metal cans and glass, and shredding the remaining residue, which is high in biogenic and organic content. This material would otherwise be sent to landfill.

“We aim to use RDF with a high carbon biomass from residual waste – that is the fraction of waste left after all the recyclable materials have been removed. This will come from a mix of sources including domestic and industrial to feed the production of the biofuel which, over its lifecycle and production will result in high savings in greenhouse gas emissions.

“RDF is produced by several waste management companies and could be delivered to the Greensky facility in Bales.”

About 575,000 tonnes of waste normally destined for landfill or incineration will be converted into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels.

BA has made a long-term commitment to purchase all 50,000 tonnes a year of the jet fuel produced as part of the ‘GreenSky’ project.

One thousand construction workers will be hired to build the facility which is due to be completed in 2017, creating up to 150 permanent jobs at the Thames Enterprise Park, part of the site of the former Coryton oil refinery in Corringham.

BA parent company International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh said: “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.

“The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly.”

Solena Fuels president and chief executive Robert Do added: “We are excited to help British Airways achieve its sustainability goals by providing an innovative solution to produce drop-in jet fuel.

“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 UK.”

Liz Gyekye

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