British Airways has announced plans to establish Europe’s first sustainable jet-fuel plant, with ambitions to power part of its fleet from 2014.
In partnership with the Solena Group, the UK flag-carrier will open a state-of-the-art facility that can convert a variety of waste materials, destined for landfill, into aviation fuel.
When completed, the plant – likely to be situated in the east of London – will convert some 500,000 tonnes of waste each year, generating around 16 million gallons of greener jet fuel.
This volume of fuel would be more than twice the amount required to make all of British Airways’ flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral.
However, this represents only a tiny fraction of total BA flights.
Willie Walsh, British Airways’ chief executive, explained: “This unique partnership with Solena will pave the way for realising our ambitious goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.
“We believe it will lead to the production of a real sustainable alternative to jet kerosene.
“We are absolutely determined to reduce our impact on climate change and are proud to lead the way on aviation’s environmental initiatives.”
Four sites in the east of London are among those under consideration for the construction of the bio-jet fuel plant; with the potential to create up to 1,200 jobs in the area.
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added: “I welcome this fantastic new ‘carbon-lite’ fuel production facility in London.
“City Hall has been working with British Airways and Solena to drive this project forward to help untap the massive potential to generate cleaner, less polluting energy from waste, otherwise destined for landfill.”
On the other side of the Atlantic, Enterprise Holdings – owner of the world’s largest fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles – announced it will convert its entire fleet of Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental airport shuttle buses to biodiesel by the spring.
The decision will impact more than 600 buses throughout more than 50 North American markets.
The move follows a White House announcement last week detailing efforts to build a new clean energy economy, expressing strong support for biofuels.