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British Airways to build waste-to-fuel plant


‘First of its kind facility’ will produce 575,000 tonnes of waste to 120,000 tonnes of fuel a year

British Airways and U.S. firm Solena Fuels is to build a plant in Thurrock, Essex, which will turn post-recycled waste into jet fuel.

The initial engineering design of the “Greensky” plant at the former Coryton oil refinery has been completed, and BA said the company was now “moving on to the next phase of engineering”.

BA said the plant, which is planned to be commissioned in 2017, will be the first in the world to convert landfill waste into jet fuel. 

Solena and its partners are now starting the next phase of engineering of the GreenSky London facility

One thousand construction workers will be hired to build the facility which is due to be completed in 2017, creating up to 150 permanent jobs.

The plant will use a high temperature plasma gasification technology to convert the waste into a synthetic gas. The gas will then be converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third party technologies that will clean and condition the syngas, including a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production.

Around 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, will be converted into 120,000 tonnes of liquid fuel using the process. BA has committed to purchase all 50,000 tonnes per annum of the jet fuel produced at market competitive rates.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said:  “The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.” 

Robert Do, president and chief executive of Solena Fuels, said:  “We anticipate starting construction of the site in approximately 12 months after all the requisite permits and agreements have been obtained.  We are looking forward to successfully building GreenSky London and partnering with British Airways on additional facilities in the United Kingdom.”

The Fischer–Tropsch process converts a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. Hydrocracking is a process by which hydrocarbon molecules are broken into simpler molecules by the addition of hydrogen under high pressure and in the presence of a catalyst. 


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