Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

BA and Solena to produce sustainable jet fuel


Airline British Airways (BA) and zero-emission bioenergy company, Solena, have progressed in their goal to produce sustainable jet fuel as part of their GreenSky London partnership, with BA reportedly making the ‘largest advanced biofuel commitment ever made by an airline’.

The British airline yesterday (6 December), announced that it has invested $500 million (£311m) in the partnership’s low-carbon jet fuel production facility and will purchase jet fuel produced by the GreenSky plant over the next 10 years. The fuel will be used in all BA flights operating out of London City Airport.

President and CEO of Solena, Robert Do, said: “Our GreenSky London project will provide clean, sustainable fuels at market competitive prices that will help address British Airways’ sustainability goals.

“The British Airways off-take agreement represents the largest advanced biofuel commitment ever made by an airline and clearly demonstrates the airline’s leadership and vision in achieving its carbon emission reduction targets.”

Though construction on the GreenSky plant has not yet begun, BA has confirmed that GreenSky London has signed an exclusive option on a site for the facility and consent work for the site has begun.

Once built, the facility is expected to annually convert approximately 500,000 tonnes of residual waste into 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel, 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel, as well as bionaphtha (a blending component in petrol), and renewable power.

Included at the site will be a biomass power station capable of producing 40 megawatts of electricity per annum. Electricity that isn’t used at the plant will then be fed into the national grid. The facility is hoped to be operational by 2015.

Chief Executive of BA, Keith Williams, said: “We are delighted that the GreenSky London project is getting ever closer to fruition. With world-class technology partners now in place, we are well on our way to making sustainable aviation fuel a reality for British Airways by 2015.”

As a result of this development, 150 permanent jobs are expected to be created, in addition to 1000 construction jobs.

The production of the sustainable jet fuel will fall to Solena Fuels Corporation, which will be responsible for converting waste matter into synthesis gas through a process of high temperature gasification and Oxford Catalyst Groups/Velocys, which will then convert the cleaned gas into liquid hydrocarbons.

According to Solena, the biofuels produced by this process are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 90 per cent over regular Jet A-1 fuel. Research conducted by Resource last year, however, indicated environmental groups were loath to praise the plans because of uncertainty over the provenance of the waste. Friends of the Earth campaigner Becky Slater said: “British Airways’ plans to produce aviation jet fuel from waste won’t necessarily be good for the environment, [but has] the potential to offer options for dealing with waste that cannot be avoided or recycled.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *