Plane Taking Off

23 July 2021

UK sustainable aviation fuels projects take off with support from GFGS competition

Eight industry-led projects have been shortlisted to receive a share of the UK Government’s £15 million Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition funding, jointly managed by Ricardo.
The competition, launched in March, for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) projects has attracted a variety of entries.
Shortlisted proposals include plants aiming to produce jet fuel from:

  • Carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere with hydrogen from water.
  • Alcohol derived from wastes.
  • Everyday household and commercial black bag rubbish.
  • Sewage.

 Alexandra Humphris-Bach, Ricardo Principal Consultant, said: “We have been amazed by the diversity and creativity of the entries. All the selected projects have a clear potential to produce SAF capable of reducing emissions by more than 70% on a lifecycle basis, when used in place of a conventional fossil jet fuel.”
Once the funding has been distributed, Ricardo will be carrying out monitoring of the eight projects of behalf of the Department for Transport.
The shortlisted projects are:

  • Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd will work with a British refinery and British engineering company to produce a detailed engineering design for a new facility in Cheshire. The plant will use gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technology to convert 133,000 tonne per annum of waste into a biocrude that can then be upgraded to aviation fuel.
  • Alfanar Energy Ltd’s Lighthouse Green Fuels project, located in Tees Valley, will use gasification and Fischer-Tropsch  technology to convert household and commercial waste into approximately 180 million litres of SAF and naphtha. The project is currently completing design optimisation work ahead of starting FEED by the end of 2021.
  • The Fulcrum BioEnergy Ltd’s NorthPoint project, being developed at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, will use proven technology and processes based on the company’s first commercial scale facility currently being commissioned in the US. Once fully operational NorthPoint will convert residual waste into approximately 100 million litres of SAF using gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technology. Funding will support the FEED stage of project work.
  • The FIREFLY project is a joint endeavour between Green Fuels Research Ltd, Petrofac and Cranfield University that aims to demonstrate and certify a technology route to sustainable aviation fuel from sewage sludge, a fully-biogenic, UK-derived waste feedstock. Funding will support the project’s pre-FEED development stage.
  • Funding will support the FEED stage of a proposed LanzaTech UK Ltd facility located in Port Talbot, South Wales. The facility will produce over 100 million litres per year of SAF using ethanol from biogenic wastes and industry flue gases, with the potential to support significant jobs in the area.
  • LanzaTech UK Ltd and Carbon Engineering’s feasibility study project proposes the integration of innovative technologies to produce over 100 million litres per year of SAF. CO2 captured from the atmosphere using Carbon Engineering’s direct air capture technology and hydrogen from water electrolysis will be converted into SAF using LanzaTech’s gas fermentation and LanzaJet™’s alcohol-to-jet technology developed by LanzaTech and PNNL. Project members British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will study offtake potential and go-to-market routes for the fuel.
  • Nova Pangaea Technologies (UK) Ltd’s feasibility project is a partnership between British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies. It will study the optimal design to construct a 100+ million litres per year facility using UK woody residues and the integration of Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA® and LanzaJet™‘s alcohol-to-jet fuel technology, developed by LanzaTech and PNNL.
  • The Altalto project is being developed by Velocys and British Airways to build a commercial waste-to-sustainable aviation fuel plant in Immingham, Lincolnshire. Altalto will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes per year of black bag waste and convert it into SAF using gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technology. The project has received planning consent from North East Lincolnshire Council and funding will support the project progress towards FEED.

The contest, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, aims to support the development of the emerging UK sector on its pathway to production of SAF at scale.
It is understood that by 2030, the development of a domestic SAF industry could be worth over £400m a year to the UK economy. Up to 9,800 highly skilled jobs could be created in the UK, potentially in regions closely aligned with the Government’s levelling up agenda. It would also reduce our reliance on imported fuels by boosting UK fuel security.