BA intends to buy sustainable fuel from the plant. © Stuart Bailey / British Airways
BA intends to buy sustainable fuel from the plant. © Stuart Bailey / British Airways

BA partners with industry on waste-to-jet-fuel plant

Renewable fuel company Velocys has collaborated with industry partners to develop the first waste-to-jet-fuel plant in the UK and Europe.

The Altalto project will develop a plant which converts non-recyclable household and commercial waste into fuel for jet planes, and will use over 500,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Altalto Immingham Limited, a subsidiary of Velocys, with airliner British Airways (BA), oil and gas firm Shell and the UK Department for Transport have submitted a planning application for the plant site in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire.

The plant, designed by Velocys, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% per tonne of fuel, compared to fossil fuel. The fuel enables a 90% reduction in pollution from engine exhausts and almost 100% reduction in sulphur oxides.

Alex Cruz, chairman and CEO at BA, said: “The submission of the planning application marks a major milestone in this project. 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.”

BA intends to buy the fuel for use in its aircraft, and the collaboration with Velocys is part of wider plans to build sustainable fuel sources and reduce emissions. 

The plant is expected to have the capacity for 20m gallons of jet fuel and hydrocarbon liquid naptha per year. Products that would otherwise go into landfill and incineration such as nappies, packaging, and takeaway cups can be turned into sustainable fuel for aeroplanes.

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, according to Velocys.

BA has also called on the government to establish an Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuels to develop technology and improve the sustainable fuel supply.

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