Planning application submitted for Europe’s first low-carbon jet fuel plant in North East Lincolnshire

Velocys hopes to have the facility operational in the 2020s

Altalto Immingham, a subsidiary renewable fuel developer Velocys, submitted the planning application as part of a collaboration between the fuel company, British Airways and Shell. Set to be located in North East Lincolnshire, it would be the first commercial-scale plant in Europe.

If the planning application is successful, the plant, in Immingham, close to the Humber Estuary, would collect more than half a million tonnes of non-recyclable household and commercial waste destined for landfill or incineration each year. The waste would be converted into cleaner-burning aviation fuel and road fuel.

According to Velocys, the new fuel enables a 70% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for each tonne that replaces traditional fuel. The emission savings from the plant’s annual output is equivalent to taking up to 40,000 cars off the road.

Velocys’ chief executive Henrik Wareborn said: “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.”

Velocys hopes to have the facility operational in the 2020s in order to produce 20 million gallons of alternative and sustainable jet fuel annually.

The fuel will also improve air quality, including a 90% reduction in soot and particulate matter from aircraft engine exhausts and almost a 100% reduction in sulphur dioxides. Further added benefits include offering a lower-emissions route to process waste in the UK, compared to landfill and incineration.

The development will also improve the UK’s domestic fuel supply, with 70% currently imported from abroad. The plant is expected to attract millions of pounds of investment and 130 permanent jobs.

British Airways

The move forms part of British Airways’s £6.5bn investment in modernising its fleet and practices in order to drive sustainability. The company has formed a strategic partnership with Velocys which has been running for multiple years.

The application comes as British Airways calls for a dedicated Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuels to help develop the technology and fuel supply to push the aviation sector towards a low-carbon future.

British Airways’ chairman Alex Cruz said: “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.”

British Airways is taking a multi-pronged approach to reducing aircraft emissions, with sustainable fuel acting as a key solution. The company’s chief executive recently told edie that there would be no “silver bullet” to decarbonise the sector, meaning companies had to combine an array of solutions.

Matt Mace

Comments (1)

  1. Keiron Shatwell says:

    How about prioritising the creation of a clean, low carbon fuel for those of us NOT on the gas grid instead of supplying aviation? Surely it is better to allow people to heat their homes in a clean, low carbon manner than force us to have to invest in unreliable air source heat pumps, spend a fortune replacing our entire central heating systems or switching to much more expensive ways to heat our homes than continue flying?

    This is the second such story to hit the news in a few days. I’m all for using waste products to make new products but there are more important things we can use these new, clean fuels for.

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