BA to Turn Household Waste into Jet Fuel
British Airways has taken a step towards powering its flights with clean-burning sustainable fuels, at the same time as helping solve landfill waste disposal problems.
The company has entered a partnership with sustainable fuels company Velocys to design a series of plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its fleet.
With some 15 million tonnes of waste a year dumped into landfill in the UK alone, the potential of such plants is enormous. The first facility will deal with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per-year, including nappies, plastic food containers and chocolate bar wrappers, and convert it into jet fuel.
The planned plant will produce enough fuel to power all British Airways’ 787 Dreamliner flights from London to San Jose, California and New Orleans, Louisiana for a whole year.
It will lead to a 60% GHG reduction over conventional fuels, with the plant saving 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. In addition, it will also reduce environmental problems associated with landfill sites, including methane leakage. Some 60% of methane – a powerful GHG – emitted in the UK comes from rotting waste in landfills.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “Sustainable fuels will play an increasingly critical role in global aviation, and we are preparing for that future.
“Turning household waste into jet fuel is an amazing innovation that produces clean fuel while reducing landfill.
“From developing innovative operating techniques, to investing in the most modern and efficient aircraft, we have a strong track record in researching, identifying and implementing ways to reduce emissions.”
An historic agreement was reached by representatives of 191 nations meeting in Montreal last year to offset any increases in aviation sector carbon emissions after 2020. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) deal was reached airlines and airport operators have stepped up their search for sustainable solutions.
Apart from BA, Geneva Airport has recently announced its own bio-fuel initiative. It has partnered with renewable fuel company Neste to introduce sustainable jet fuel for aircraft operations. Its initial target appears modest – a minimum 1% of the annual jet fuel consumption at the airport to be biofuel, starting late 2018. But it is hoped to roll-out the programme in coming years to help meet Montreal Agreement commitments.