Jet2 to invest in sustainable aviation fuel plant
Jet2, the UK's third-largest airline, has announced an investment in a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production plant to be built in the North West of England – one of the first deals of its kind.
Jet2 and its subsidiary Jet2holidays, the UK's largest tour operator, will invest an equity stake in the plant and expect to receive over 200 million litres of SAF over a 15-year period. The SAF produced at the NorthPoint site is expected to achieve life cycle emissions reductions of approximately 70 per cent when compared to conventional aviation fuel, with the future potential to be fully carbon neutral. The strategic positioning of the plant means that SAF is expected to be delivered directly to Manchester Airport using the existing jet fuel pipework infrastructure, rather than having to rely on transporting the fuel by the road network.
The production of SAF at the plant is expected to commence in 2027. At full capacity, it will convert around 600,000 tonnes of non-recyclable household waste, which would otherwise have been destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100 million litres of SAF annually. The NorthPoint plant will use Fulcrum's waste-to-fuel process and will directly benefit from the IP gained from operations of its pioneering first commercial-scale waste-to-fuels facility, Sierra BioFuels, situated outside of Reno, Nevada, in the United States.
The deal marks one of the first such investments in the UK aviation industry, and the SAF produced will be one of the longest supply agreements of its kind. The agreement will allow Jet2 to receive a significant volume of SAF produced at the plant, which is expected to achieve net emissions reductions totalling around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 for Jet2 over the 15-year period of the agreement.
The announcement is part of Jet2's comprehensive sustainability strategy, which aims to make the company net zero by 2050, in line with government targets. The company has already been recognised as one of the most carbon-efficient airlines globally, and this latest investment further cements its commitment to becoming one of the leading brands in sustainable air travel and package holidays.
In addition to the investment in the SAF production plant, Jet2 has also purchased 98 firm-ordered Airbus A320/A321 neo aircraft, which could eventually extend up to 146 aircraft. This move will make travelling with Jet2 and Jet2holidays more efficient by further reducing emissions per passenger. The company has also implemented a carbon offsetting scheme, one of the largest of any airline globally. Since January 2022, Jet2 has paid for every tonne of carbon emitted, further demonstrating its commitment to sustainable air travel.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Travel and tourism is a force for good and, like all industries, we know how critical it is to mitigate our climate impacts.
“This significant investment into Fulcrum NorthPoint’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel production in the UK shows not only how seriously we take that responsibility, but also how committed we are to taking tangible actions to address it.
“Not only will this action help to lower our climate impacts, but it represents a major step forward in our transition to net zero too. Whether investing in SAF, spending billions on our aircraft fleet, or placing a price on every tonne of carbon we emit, we are putting sustainable travel at the heart of our business. By doing this, our customers know they are travelling with an airline and holiday company that takes its environmental impact seriously and takes substantial action to address it too.
“This type of investment is critical if we are to get this technology up to the scale required to decarbonise the industry. Our investment is a very clear demonstration that we are backing SAF and the UK production of SAF early. We are calling on the UK government to scale up its level of ambition and support for SAF production too. Doing this will help achieve decarbonisation of the aviation sector, stimulate uptake and seize the enormous economic opportunity here in the UK.”
Jeff Ovens, Managing Director at Fulcrum BioEnergy UK, added: “This strategic, project-level investment by Jet2 plc demonstrates a clear commitment to the development of a UK SAF industry and further underpins Fulcrum’s leading position in the global waste-to-SAF industry. Fulcrum values this new partnership with Jet2, and we look forward to working together to successfully develop Fulcrum NorthPoint and bring low-carbon jet fuel to Jet2’s increasingly fuel-efficient aircraft fleet.”
UK Energy-from-waste plants ‘close’ to being used for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)
SAF is widely recognised as the best way to decarbonise aviation in the medium to long term, and this investment marks a significant step towards a more sustainable future for air travel.
On 17 April the Department for Transport (DfT) released a response to a report titled ‘Developing a UK sustainable aviation fuel industry’ which outlines recommendations for creating a successful SAF industry in the UK.
The DfT response suggests that energy-from-waste (EfW) is close to being diverted to make aviation fuel in an attempt to decarbonise the aviation industry – a pursuit known as ‘Jet Zero’.
The original report, conducted by Philip New, former CEO of the Energy Systems Catapult and BP Alternative Energy, suggests that EfW may be diverted to create aviation fuel to decarbonise the aviation industry.
The report defines SAF as specific fuels made from ‘sustainable’ wastes or residues (excluding segregated oils and fats such as used cooking oils and tallows) or renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs). These fuels are awarded two development fuel certificates per litre eq. of eligible fuel supplied. Philip New argues that the UK has the potential to play a leading role in the development and deployment of SAF made from carbon-containing waste streams, a technology he said is ‘close to deployment readiness’.
According to the report, the main challenges to developing a SAF industry in the UK include regulatory uncertainty, the high cost of production and the lack of supply chain infrastructure. To address these challenges, the report recommends a range of measures, including the establishment of a policy framework, the provision of financial incentives and the creation of a national SAF development fund.