British Airways will likely soon have part of its fleet fueled by trash. The company has entered into a partnership to build facilities that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel. The first stage of the partnership is a feasability stage with final investment planned for 2019. If the first stage is successful, part of BA's fleet will fly using the fuel.
The initiative will help the airline industry cut its carbon emissions while diverting waste from landfills. More than 15 million tons of waste per year is landfilled in the U.K. each year alone, putting tremendous strain on the environment.
The first facility will process hundreds of thousands of tons of household waste per-year, including plastic food containers and diapers, into clean-burning, sustainable fuels. This will contribute to the airline’s commitment to reduce net emissions by 50% by 2050, as the produced fuel will deliver a greenhouse gas reduction of more than 60% compared with conventional fossil fuel. An annual carbon dioxide savings of 60,000 tons is expected.
The planned plant, the first of this scale, will produce enough fuel to power all British Airways’ 787 Dreamliner operated flights from London to San Jose, California and New Orleans for a year. The airline plans to supply its aircraft fleet with increasing amounts of sustainable jet fuel in the next decade.
The venture also includes renewable fuels company Velocys, which will supply its microchannel Fischer-Tropsch technology, and recycling and waste management outfit Suez, which will provide technical and operational expertise and manage the supply of feedstock to the project.