British Airways has been awarded a £9m grant from the UK government’s Advanced Fuel Fund (AFF) competition to help develop lower-carbon aviation fuels.
In a joint partnership with green fuel businesses Nova Pangaea Technologies (NPT) and LanzaJet, Project Speedbird aims to produce 102m litres of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) each year, decreasing CO2 emissions by around 230,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of approximately 26,000 domestic flights. It hopes to be at full capacity by 2028, “supporting progress towards the UK’s SAF mandate, which will require at least 10% of jet fuel used by airlines to be made from sustainable feedstocks by 2030”.
The SAF is created by NPT’s “innovative technology” that converts wood residue feedstocks and agricultural waste into second-generation biofuels such as ethanol. LanzaJet will then convert the ethanol into SAF. This is currently carried out in the US, but Project Speedbird plans to build its own Alcohol to Jet (AtJ) plant in the UK by 2027.
Carrie Harris, director of sustainability at British Airways, said it was “vital” the airline continued to invest in SAF and that the company “welcomed the government’s investment and continued support for Project Speedbird”.
She added: “The UK has the potential to become a leader in the production of SAF, and this pioneering project is one step closer to this becoming a reality and a big moment for British Airways and UK SAF production more generally.”