The dream of powering British Airways aircraft with sustainable jet fuel made from waste has come a step closer.

BA has confirmed its financial commitment to GreenSky London, in partnership with Solena, and more development partners have joined the technology consortium.

GreenSky London is a flagship project that will build a facility to annually convert some 500,000 tonnes of waste normally destined for landfill into 50,000 tonnes of sustainable low carbon jet fuel, as well as 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel, bionaphtha and renewable power.

Solena’s technology consortium continues to grow and includes:

  • Solena Fuels Corporation will provide the high temperature gasification process that converts waste matter into synthesis gas and the overall Integrated Biomass Gasification to Liquids (IBGTL) solution
  • Oxford Catalysts Group/Velocys will supply the Fisher-Tropsch (FT) reactors and catalyst which will convert the cleaned synthesis gas into liquid hydrocarbons
  • Fluor – a world leader in project execution and bio-fuel projects, and is providing engineering services to support Solena.

British Airways has committed to purchasing, at market competitive prices, the jet fuel produced by the plant for the next ten years which equates to US$500 million at today’s prices.

Barclays has also been appointed as an advisor to explore the best way of funding the project.

GreenSky London has signed an exclusive option on a site for the facility and consent work has begun. More than 150 jobs will be created to operate the facility, as well as 1,000 construction positions. The partners aim to have the site operational by 2015.

Keith Williams, chief executive of British Airways, said: “We are delighted that the GreenSky London project is getting ever closer to fruition. With world-class technology partners now in place, we are well on our way to making sustainable aviation fuel a reality for British Airways by 2015.”

Robert Do, President and CEO of Solena, said: “Our GreenSky London project will provide clean, sustainable fuels at market competitive prices that will help address British Airways’ sustainability goals. The British Airways off-take agreement represents the largest advanced biofuel commitment ever made by an airline and clearly demonstrates the airline’s leadership and vision in achieving its carbon emission reduction targets. We are proud to have created a consortium of world class companies with expertise in the synthetic fuels sector to support our project.”

Roy Lipski, CEO of Oxford Catalysts Group, stated “Oxford Catalysts is pleased to be playing a key role in the enabling of GreenSky London. This project looks set to become a landmark in the development of the sustainable fuels market, both in the UK and worldwide”.