British Airways takes off with waste-sourced aviation biofuels

British Airways has entered into a joint venture to source aviation biofuel from waste in Europe's first commercial-scale low carbon jet fuel production facility.

The agreement, which runs over 10 years, will see the airline utilising sustainable fuels produced from residual waste at the GreenSky facility in East London – a partnership between British Airways and gasification firm Solena.

The facility, which is the first of its type in the UK, will annually convert around 500,000 tonnes of residual waste into 50,000 tonnes of aviation biofuel and 50,000 tonnes of bionaphtha and biodiesel. The plant will also have a renewable power generating capacity of 40MW.

British Airways has committed to purchase jet fuel produced by the plant for the next ten years, which equates to US$500m at today’s prices. The partners have also signed an exclusive option on a site for the facility and consent work for the site has now begun.

British Airways chief executive Keith Williams said the project would help realise the company’s vision of making sustainable aviation fuel a reality by 2015.

The GreenSky process will use Solena’s high temperature gasification technology to produce a synthesis gas, which will then be cleaned and converted into liquid hydrocarbons using patented reactors.

NNFCC chief executive Dr Jeremy Tomkinson has been providing technical consultancy on the project. He said: “Biofuels are the only low carbon alternative to fossil fuels in the aviation sector and as a result GreenSky London is likely to be the first of many similar projects built in the years to come.”

Maxine Perella

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