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BA’s London biofuel plant cleared for take-off

BusinessGreen: Sustainable Thinking

BA’s London biofuel plant cleared for take-off

Airline has secured an exclusive option on an unnamed site and started consent work

By Will Nichols

05 Dec 2012

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British Airways has secured a site for a state-of-the-art sustainable jet fuel facility in London, providing a key building block for the airline’s efforts to secure “carbon neutral growth” from 2020.

BusinessGreen revealed in September that work would begin on the company’s joint venture biofuel with Solena before the end of the year and accordingly BA announced late last week the GreenSky London initiative has signed an exclusive option on an as yet unnamed site for the facility and begun consent work.


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When complete the site should be capable of turning around 500,000 tonnes of waste that would otherwise go to landfill into 50,000 tonnes of sustainable jet fuel each year.

The process uses Solena’s high temperature gasification technology to produce a synthesis gas, which is then cleaned and converted into liquid hydrocarbons using British company Oxford Catalyst’s patented Fischer-Tropsch reactors.

BA has committed $500m to purchasing 10 years’ supply of the fuel and joins Lufthansa, KLM, Virgin and several other large carriers experimenting with alternative fuels as oil prices spike.

Jonathon Counsell, BA’s head of environment, told BusinessGreen earlier in the year that by 2015 the plant could account for two per cent of BA’s fuel and produce the green fuel at a similar price to fossil fuels.

He added that if the plant proves to be successful, the company will look to build several facilities in the UK. Dr Jeremy Tomkinson, chief executive at NNFCC, which has providing technical consultancy on the GreenSky project, said he expected many new plants to be built in the coming years.

“Biofuels are the only low carbon alternative to fossil fuels in the aviation sector and as a result GreenSky London is likely to be the first of many similar projects built in the years to come,” he said. “Every new market needs a pioneer and it is pleasing to see the UK take a leading role in its development.”

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