Solena partnership with BA to produce jet fuel from London municipal waste – delayed over 2 years?

In 2010 it was announced that Solena and BA would build a plant to produce jet fuel in London. Solena hoped the new aviation fuel would be produced from several types of waste materials destined for landfill. The airline said it plans to use the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet beginning in 2014. In 2010 they said the self-contained plant will likely be built in east London. It’s expected to convert 551,000 tons of waste into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel each year. However, the timetable has slipped. There is no planning application yet.  It seems they hope for “notice to proceed” in 2013.  One website said the project will start in 2nd quarter of 2014 and end 2nd quarter 2016.  Oxford Catalysts were selected to supply the modular Fischer-Tropsch technology . There has been no planning application yet at Rainham Marshes. The timetable seems to have slipped by at least 27 months.


There appears to have been a flurry of industry press reports in July announcing that Oxford Catalysts had been selected as the supplier of modular Fischer-Tropsch technology for the project. And other reports stating that the site and funding were in place (but no other
confirmation of where the site may be.)

RSPB did some checking that the relevant local authorities had heard
nothing about using Rainham Marshes earlier in the year………

Interesting that between November 2011 and July 2012 the project dates
had slipped by 27 months.

Very non-informative article about Solena/British Airways at
No indication even of a planning application for it. 3.7.2012
The link about the Solena /British Airways jet fuel plant (perhaps at Rainham Marshes) is at a link that no longer works – whatever it was has been removed.  from this page  Said Start Q2/14. Completion Q2/16.
It was only  updated on 27th July this year, but already removed.
If you look at the news page of SGI biopower – which is where the Solena press release would have been,   they do not seem to have had any news since May 2011.
If the Solena/BA project, it says in this report  (Feb 2011)  that they “hope to receive fuel derived from everyday waste, from 2015”.
But this (July 2011)  (detail has been removed) says:
“In California, Solena Fuels expects to put in its planning application with the City of Gilroy for construction of its first biojet facility sometime within the coming year. The company says it still has a lot of development work to do on details and consultations with the community before it asks for permission to build the 16 million gallon per year, $350 million facility.”
There has not been any planning application at Rainham (September 2012)
Seems there has been little about aviation and biofuels in recent months during 2012. The aviation industry seem to realise it is a non starter, and biofuels would be better used – if at all – for terrestrial uses.  Why should aviation get such a precious and hard won resource?


The Oxford Catalysts interim results announcement confirms :

In July, the Group announced that it had been selected by Solena Fuels
Corporation (“Solena”) to supply their GreenSky London waste-biomass
to jet fuel project, whose leading partner is British Airways.
GreenSky London has been established to create Europe’s first
commercial scale sustainable jet fuel facility. After a formal
evaluation of available technologies performed by Fluor Corporation on
behalf of Solena, the Group was selected by Solena as the sole
supplier of FT technology for GreenSky London. Successful
implementation of the GreenSky London project and receipt of the
notice to proceed (expected in 2013) will generate revenues to the
Group in excess of $30 million (during the construction phase to
2015), and additional ongoing revenues of more than $50 million over
the first fifteen years of the plant’s operation.

In addition, Solena has entered into a term sheet with the Group
(subject to conclusion of a detailed master license agreement) for the
supply of FT units to its future Biomass-to-Liquids (“BTL”) projects
with many of the world’s leading airlines and shipping companies,
including GreenSky California, Rome and Stockholm. Solena recently
announced that it is working with Lufthansa towards a long-term
bankable jet fuel offtake agreement for a commercial BTL plant to be
constructed in Berlin, Germany, at a site identified by Solena.
According to the Group’s agreement with Solena and currently expected
capacity of the plant, receipt of the order and successful
implementation of the Berlin project would generate revenues to
the Group similar in size to those expected from the GreenSky London
project. Whilst there is no firm date at this stage, construction is
expected to begin in a few years time.

 See earlier:

Is the Solena / British Airways plan for jetfuel from London domestic waste greenwash?

Damian Carrington, of the Guardian, discusses the potential benefits of the plant in East London that is to be built by 2015 by Solena, to turn London’s household waste into jet fuel. It will also produce some electricity.  British Airways is pushing ahead with a plant that aims to turn half a million tonnes of Londoner’s household rubbish into 50,000 tonnes a year of jet fuel. Damian says: ” I’ll let you decide if this is greenwash or not: here’s some of the details.” BA’s Jonathan Counsel says ”We accept we are a significant source of emissions, and growing,” he says. “Taking action is about earning our right to grow.” Boeing says the industry wants to get 1% biofuel into the global jet fuel supply by 2015,  which equates to 600m US gallons a year. And more if it can.  Why should this household waste go to aviation fuel, rather than energy for other uses?

by Damian Carrington

16 March 2012   (Guardian)

(Someone commented on this article that – as the location of the  plant is still unknown – “One of the construction mags indicated that it was “Rainham Marshes” and I gather there is already a convenient Veolia landfill site there on the Thames shore.” ??  including earlier news on Solena / BA.