Household waste to be used in jet fuel production

Eight companies have been shortlisted to receive a share of £15 million to go towards developing production plants that will turn waste into jet fuel across the UK.

The cash injection, and the facilities it will fund, marks a step towards ‘net zero aviation’, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

planeThe eight organisations all specialise in biofuels and are as follows: Advanced Biofuels Solutions; alfanar Energy; Fulcrum BioEnergy; Green Fuels Research; Lanzatech UK; Lanzatech UK and Carbon Engineering; Nova Pangaea Technologies; and Velocys Projects.

Announced as part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, the Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition will support these eight companies as they trial new waste recycling technologies.

The GFGS was announced in March and states that it is committed to ‘supporting the development of the emerging UK sector on its pathway to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at scale.’

The proposed plants will convert materials - such as household waste, alcohol, carbon from the atmosphere and sewage - into jet fuel at commercial scales, with the DfT claiming that this will result in emissions savings of ‘more than 70 per cent’ compared to the use of conventional fossil jet fuel. 

Specific shortlisted proposals for plants include facilities aiming to produce jet fuel from: carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere with hydrogen from water; alcohol derived from wastes, including flue gases from industry; everyday household and commercial black bag rubbish.

Aviation is responsible for 2.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions according to the DfT, with this figure being published as the Government sets out its ‘long-term ambition to lead the world in SAF uptake’.

It proposes up to 10 per cent SAF use by 2030, and up to 75 per cent SAF use by 2050, with the hope of generating potential savings of up to 23 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year in 2050.

The Government believes that SAF production in the UK could generate between £700m and £1,660m annually.

It also believes that this would create around 11,000 green jobs by 2040, with the initial funding of these eight companies kickstarting the creation of over 1000 local jobs in plants built in Cheshire, Lincolnshire, Tees Valley and South Wales, among other locations. 

Launched today, the SAF mandate consultation sets out options for SAF adoption in the UK and signals to investors the role it will play in the UK aviation sector as it builds back in the wake of the pandemic. 

This consultation follows the Jet Zero Consultation announced last week alongside the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

The Jet Zero Consultation commits the aviation sector to a net zero emissions target by 2050, and a domestic target of net zero emissions by 2040.

The Transport Decarbonisation Plan ‘sets out the Government’s commitments and the actions needed to decarbonise the entire transport system in the UK’, including the pathway to net zero transit.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented: “Aviation will be central to our future growth and plans to build back greener from the pandemic, which is why we have invested over £20 million in the past year to decarbonise the sector in line with our world-leading net zero targets.  

“With 100 days to go until COP26, we’re ramping up our efforts even further to help companies break ground on trailblazing waste to jet fuel plants and put the UK at the forefront of international SAF production.”