British Airways – Putting on Green Flights
A deal has been struck by British Airways to build the first plant in Europe to produce jet fuel from waste matter.
The plant construction is due to begin within the next two years with plans already in place to start fuel production by 2014. Once the project is completed 500,000 tones of waste will be turned into 16 million gallons of fuel. In total 1,200 new jobs will be created.
In a statement BA said that the plant would produce twice the required amount of fuel to power all of its flights from London City Airport. However, only 2% of flights from Heathrow will be powered by the biofuel.
On an environmental note BA claims that the plant will drastically reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. This can only be a good thing as landfills produce methane, which is considered by many to be a bigger producer of greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
The biofuel is created when waste products are put into a high temperature ‘gasifier’ to produce BioSynGas. The gas is then converted into biofuel using a chemical process called Fischer Tropsch. All waste produced from this process has been earmarked to power the plant as well as supply 20MW of electricity to the national grid. The solid waste from the plant can be used as aggregate in construction. The ideal source material for the plant is waste matter that is high in carbon content.
The US company Solena Group have already been commissioned to build the plant with BA committed to buying all of the fuel produced. It will take four years before the plant is ready to produce fuel and is unlikely to work at full capacity straight away.
The only stumbling block in BA’s way is that the fuel produced by the plant is not yet certified for use in the UK, although it is in other European countries. A BA spokesperson said that BA is confident of getting the certification by the time the plant starts producing fuel, either for use in a blend with traditional kerosene or on its own