British Airways is one step closer to powering its future fleet with sustainable jet fuel made from rubbish. Plans have been submitted to develop Europe’s first household and commercial solid-waste to sustainable-fuels plant.
Altalto Immingham, a subsidiary of renewable fuels company Velocys and a collaborator with British Airways and Shell, has submitted a planning application to develop the site in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, close to the Humber Estuary.
The proposed state-of-the-art plant would take over half-a-million tonnes of non-recyclable everyday household and commercial solid waste each year, destined for landfills or incineration.
This waste includes meal packaging, nappies and takeaway coffee cups, which are converted into cleaner burning, sustainable aviation fuel.
The technology, built by Velocys, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70%. For every tonne of conventional fossil fuel replaced by sustainable jet fuel is the equivalent of taking up to 40,000 cars off the road each year.
British Airways intends to purchase jet fuel produced at the plant for use in its aircraft. This is an important step in the reduction of the airline’s carbon emissions towards the industry targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels.
The fuel will also improve air quality, with up to 90% reduction in soot from aircraft engine exhausts and a reduction of almost 100% in sulphur oxides. The technology will also offer a lower emissions route to process UK waste, compared to landfills or incineration.