BRITISH Airways says that it has been forced to shelve a groundbreaking Â£340m scheme to create 16m gallons of jet fuel from London’s rubbish every year, partly due to a lack of government support reports The Guardian.
The Green Sky project was due to open in 2017 at the old Petroplus refinery in Thurrock,, where it would have turned into gas 575,000 tonnes of household waste that would otherwise have been landfilled or incinerated.
Enough green fuel would have been produced to power all BA’s yearly flights from London City airport twice over, with carbon savings equivalent to taking 150,000 cars off the road.
But BA told the Guardian that the project had now been mothballed partly because of low crude oil prices, jitters among investors, and a lack of policy engagement from 10 Downing Street.
“The government needs to support innovative aviation biofuels projects such as this if they are to progress,” said Cathy West, a BA spokeswoman. “Aviation fuels are not eligible for incentives that road transport fuels receive, making it difficult to build a business case to invest in UK aviation fuels projects. This affects investor confidence.”
BA wants jet biofuels brought under the government’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, a move it believes could help trigger the building of a dozen green fuel plants by 2030.
Without such guarantees, airlines may feel obliged to sign alternative fuel deals at market rates that become less attractive when oil prices suddenly drop.
“The UK is currently losing out to countries that have prioritised and incentivised developments in the sustainable aviation fuels market,” West said.
Some 150 workers were expected to staff the Solena Fuels plant, which BA had committed to pay Â£35m each year for a decade, in a bid to lower its carbon footprint.
But Solena, a US company, filed for bankruptcy three months ago and BA has now switched its attention to other waste-to-fuels firms where joint projects are thought to be at the due diligence stage.