Bioenergy

British Airways To Develop Waste-to-Fuel Facility

British Airways and the Solena Group plan to develop Europe’s first bio-based jet-fuel production facility. British Airways plans to use the fuel to power part of its fleet starting in 2014. The fuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in a facility that can convert a variety of waste materials, destined for landfill, into aviation fuel.

The self-contained plant, likely to be sited in east London, will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste per year into 16 million gallons of jet fuel. This volume of fuel would be more than twice the amount required to make all of British Airways’ flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral.

The fuel will be produced by feeding waste into a patented high temperature gasifier, producing BioSynGas. An established process known as Fischer Tropsch then converts the gas into biofuels to produce biojet fuel and bionaphtha. Bionaphtha is used as a blending component in petrol and also as a feedstock for the petrochemicals industry.

British Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase all the fuel produced by the plant, which will be built by the Solena Group Inc., an advanced bio energy and biofuels company based in the U.S.

Four sites in the east of London are among those under consideration for the construction of the bio-jet fuel plant. The plan will lead to the creation of up to 1,200 jobs in the area and could reduce significantly local authority landfill tax bills.

“This unique partnership with Solena will pave the way for realising our ambitious goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. We believe it will lead to the production of a real sustainable alternative to jet kerosene. We are absolutely determined to reduce our impact on climate change and are proud to lead the way on aviation’s environmental initiatives,” said Willie Walsh, British Airways’ CEO.