British Airways plans to build a plant that will produce biojet fuel from plasma gasification of biomass, reports The Engineer. Touted as Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant, the facility will process all types of biomass and residue feedstock that will primarily be sourced from local waste management facilities, according to the article.
In partnership with the Solena Group, British Airways says the jet-fuel plant will help power its fleet from 2014, and help the company meet its goal to reduce net carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050, reports New Energy Focus.
In July last year, British Airways joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) that focuses on the commercialization and availability of sustainable biofuels.
The plant will convert 500,000 tons of waste per year into 16 million gallons of jet fuel as well as generate 20 megawatts (MW) of excess renewable electricity annually for export to the national grid, reports New Energy Focus.
British Airways says this volume of fuel would be more than twice the amount required to make all of its flights at London City Airport carbon-neutral.
The renewable fuel will be produced by feeding waste into a high-temperature gasifier, producing BioSynGas, which will then be converted into bioject fuel and bionaptha (a blending component in petrol and also as a feedstock for the petrochemicals industry) via an established process known as Fischer Tropsch, reports New Energy Focus.
According to British Airways, the Fischer Tropsch process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95 percent compared to fossil-fuel based jet kerosene, reports New Energy Focus.
The process only produces environmentally-benign slag that can be used as construction aggregate, reports The Engineer
British Airways also says the plant will reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, which will reduce the amount of methane that is produced, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reports BBC.
Consultant ARCADIS is currently identifying four potential sites in east London for the new facility that will require approximately 20 acres of land, reports New Energy Focus.