BA to build sustainable fuel plant

16 February 2010

British Airways claims a new sustainable jet fuel plant will permit it to reduce its carbon emissions by 145,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road. Arcadis, consultancy, design, engineering and management company, will act as principle consultant for the plant, considered to be the first of its kind in Europe.

The aviation fuel is produced from plasma gasification of biomass into BioSynGas which is then converted by Fischer Tropsch into biojet fuel. The plant can process all types of biomass and residue feedstock which will mainly be sourced from local waste management facilities. The process is said to produce no waste products other than an environmentally-benign slag that can be used as construction aggregate.

US-based Solena Group, developer and owner of the technology, is partnering with British Airways on the project.

When complete, the Carbon Reclamation & Conditioning Plant will convert 500,000 tonnes of carbon-based material per year into 16 million gallons of jet fuel. The process offers lifecycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 95 per cent compared to fossil fuel derived kerosene, potentially reducing annual carbon emissions by 145,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road.

The plant will produce more than double the fuel needed to power all British Airways flights at London City Airport. First delivery is scheduled for 2014.

“The advanced biopower and biofuels processes now being developed will be fundamental in shaping the industrial sector of the future. Projects like this demonstrate that the technology is viable and the end results are extremely desirable and we are proud to be a part of this important development,” said Stephen Didcott, managing director for Arcadis in the UK.

Arcadis is currently working on identifying potential sites for the new facility which will require approximately 20 acres of land. The site, which needs good transport links and a consistent supply of feedstock, would ideally be in London.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said: “I welcome this fantastic new ‘carbon lite’ fuel production facility in London. City Hall has been working with British Airways and Solena to drive this project forward to help untap the massive potential to generate cleaner, less polluting energy from waste, otherwise destined for landfill.”

Disused brown-field sites are among those being considered.

“Arcadis has a great track record both in delivering large-scale, complex construction projects, and in their passion for sustainability and commitment to the environment. They are a natural choice to partner with on a project like this and we are looking forward to building on an already successful relationship,” concluded Jim Davies, British Airways.

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