British Airways, Solena Fuels plan waste-to-jet-fuel plant

Airline and synthetic fuel producer will build the facility in Essex, U.K.

June 11, 2014
REW Staff

The U.K.-based airline British Airways (BA) and the biofuel producer Solena Fuels, Washington, D.C., have jointly announced plans to build a facility in the U.K. that will produce jet fuel from waste. The project will be located on the site of a former oil refinery in Thurrock, U.K., near London.

When operational in 2017, the facility is expected to convert scrap paper, food scraps and garden waste into liquid fuel.

BA estimates 575,000 metric tons of post-recycled waste will be converted into 120,000 metric tons of liquid fuels using Solena’s integrated technology. British Airways says it has made a long-term commitment to purchase all 50,000 metric tons per year of the jet fuel produced at market competitive rates.

Willie Walsh, CEO of BA parent company IAG, says, “We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry. The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly. The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”

Solena, which has the patented high-temperature plasma gasification technology, says it will be able to convert the waste into synthetic gas. The gas will then be converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third party technologies, which will include cleaning and conditioning of the gas, a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production.

Robert Do, president and CEO of Solena Fuels, says, “We are excited to help British Airways achieve its sustainability goals by providing an innovative solution to produce drop-in jet fuel. We anticipate starting construction of the site in approximately 12 months after all the requisite permits and agreements have been obtained. We are looking forward to successfully building GreenSky London and partnering with British Airways on additional facilities in the United Kingdom.”

The U.K.-based  Greenergy has reached an agreement with Solena to become the site project facilitator for GreenSky.

Andrew Owens, Greenergy CEO, says, "This is an ideal site for a biofuel initiative like Solena's, and we are very pleased to be associated with it. The site provides a riverside location on the Thames, adjacent to Thames Oilport, with fuel storage and fuel pipelines and good road, rail and jetty infrastructure.

"Thames Enterprise Park's main goal is to provide regeneration of the former Coryton oil refinery following its closure in 2012. The facility proposed by British Airways and Solena is exactly the type of high profile technology project both we and Thurrock Council want to attract to the site, particularly given the number of skilled jobs provided."