British Airways pledges to buy Solena “GreenSky London” jet fuel made from London waste for 10 years – site location still not known
British Airways and Solena “GreenSky London” say their project to build a jet biofuel facility in East London is gaining momentum. However, they won’t reveal the location of the plant but say an exclusive option on a site for the facility and consent work has begun, with the aim of having it operational and in production by 2015. BA has confirmed its commitment to purchasing, at “market competitive” prices, the anticipated 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel produced per year for the next 10 years, which equates to around $500 million at today’s price for conventional jet kerosene. BA expects enough of this fuel will be produced to power 2% of its fleet departing from London Airports. GreenSky say it will process 500,000 tonnes of London’s waste into 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel, equating to 1,100 barrels of jet fuel per day (bpd) which is 16 million gallons. It will also process 50,000 tonnes, or 1,100 bpd, of ultra-low sulphur diesel.
British Airways pledges 10-year offtake agreement as GreenSky project with Solena gathers momentum
Fri 30 Nov 2012 (GreenAir online) Full article
…. excerpts …….
The British Airways and Solena GreenSky London project to build a sustainable jet biofuel facility in East London is gaining momentum, say the two partners. They won’t reveal the location but an exclusive option on a site for the facility and consent work has begun, with the aim of having it operational and in production by 2015.
BA has now confirmed its commitment to purchasing, at “market competitive” prices, the anticipated 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel produced annually by the plant for the next 10 years, which equates to around $500 million at today’s price for conventional jet kerosene.
Barclays has been appointed as advisor to explore the optimal funding through export credit agencies and the consortium providing the facility’s key technology functions has also been announced.
British Airways expects enough sustainable fuel be produced to power 2% of its fleet departing from London Airports.
Around 500,000 tonnes of municipal waste normally sent to landfills will be converted annually into 50,000 tonnes of biodiesel, bionaphtha and renewable power at the facility as well as the 16 million gallons of jet fuel.
Solena Fuels Corporation will provide the proprietary high-temperature gasification process that converts the waste into synthetic gas and the overall Integrated Biomass Gasification to Liquids (IBGTL) solution.
The Fischer-Tropsch reactors and catalyst that will convert the cleaned synthetic gas into liquid hydrocarbons, such as diesel and jet fuel, will be supplied by Oxford Catalysts.
Marketed under the brand name Velocys, the company says its systems are significantly smaller than those using conventional technology, enabling modular plants that can be deployed more cost-effectively in remote locations and on smaller scales than is possible with competing systems.
…….. On the financing, a Competitive Letter of Interest has been obtained from one of the export credit agencies, including associated term funding. More than 150 jobs are expected to be created to operate the facility, with 1,000 workers involved during the construction.
An independent life-cycle assessment by UK-based North Energy Associates of the Solena jet biofuel showed that greenhouse gas savings exceeded both the 60% requirement of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the 50% minimum of the methodology established by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB).
………. it continues ……
Oxford Catalyst shares take off as BA agrees $500mln jet fuel deal
30.11.2012 (Oxford Catalysts)
British Airways has agreed to buy sustainable jet fuel from the plant over a ten year period.
……. The AIM-quoted gas-to-liquids expert is the project developer for a new plant, called GreenSky London, which will be operated by US bio-fuel specialist Solena.
It will use Oxford Catalysts Group’s patented technology as part of the process to turn waste-biomass into jet fuel.
BA ………has agreed to buy the sustainable jet fuel from the plant over a ten year period, in a deal worth US$500mln (£315mln) at current prices.
British Airways says the project is now well on the way to making sustainable aviation fuel a reality.
……A project start date was confirmed for 2015, and Barclays has been appointed as an advisor on funding. A letter of interest has been secured in respect of possible financing.
The partners have an exclusive option over a site for the facility, while pre-front end engineering and design work has begun.
GreenSky will process 500,000 tonnes of London’s waste into 50,000 tonnes of jet fuel, equating to 1,100 barrels of fuel per day (bpd). It will also process 50,000 tonnes, or 1,100 bpd, of ultra-low sulphur diesel.
BA says it will announce East London jetfuel plant location “before the end of the year”
Preferred site has been chosen for London facility set to generate two per cent of BA’s fuel from waste
BA’s Jonathan Counsell has told Business Green that it plans to announce “by the end of the year” which site in East London will be used to build its plant, with Solena, to produce jetfuel. He also says “construction is imminent” and that they have a preferred site, but where this is has not been disclosed. There have been 4 possible sites in East London capable of turning London’s municipal waste into jet fuel. BA hopes fuel made from waste will get around criticism of competing with food crops, and so pushing up food prices. If the East London site is successful, there are plans for others in the UK. BA hopes the Solena plant could produce some 2% of BA’s annual jet fuel use from 2015. Counsell envisages a future where sustainable biofuels account for 20% of the industry’s fuel. There is a lot more about BA and its aspirations to cut its carbon emissions in future, while continuing to grow as much as possible … (nothing new)….
27 Sep 2012
BA is set to begin initial construction on a planned biofuel-from-waste plant before the end of the year and will look to build several facilities in the UK should the technology prove successful.
Jonanthon Counsell, head of environment at BA, told BusinessGreen in an interview (copied below) that the airline had chosen a preferred site for the plant in London, after first announcing the project alongside US biofuel company Solena back in 2010.
“We’re getting close to having all the pieces in the jigsaw coming together… [and] should be making an announcement before the end of the year,” he said.
Counsell said the plant could supply around 2% of the carrier’s total fuel consumption when it comes online in 2015.
He added that the process of generating jet fuel from waste is expected to result in carbon savings of up to 95% compared to standard fuels.
“It’s been proven the will is there, the technology is now a commercial issue,” Counsell said. “The route we’re going down will be cost competitive with fossil fuel by 2015. And once we’ve proven the technology, we can look at building more plants across the UK.”
In a wide ranging interview, Counsell also urged the EU to amend it rules regulating airlines’ carbon emissions.
In April 2013, carriers will have to submit permits covering emissions from all their flights in and out of EU airports, a regulation that has prompted accusations Brussels has broken international aviation treaties and threats of retaliatory action.
Counsell suggested the EU could either only count emissions in its airspace or exempt inbound flights if it wants to avoid reprisals.
“If the EU fails to amend [EU ETS] we will go through a very difficult period that will be potentially damaging to EU carriers,” he argued.
BA attempts to land concept of sustainable aviation
Jonathon Counsell, BA’s head of environment, says operational measures, new technology, and biofuels will help carrier halve emissions by 2050
27 Sep 2012
Aviation is unlikely to ever be considered particularly green. Not only is it responsible for almost as much climate-warming pollution as the entire UK, some 3% of global emissions, but environmental campaigners warn its carbon footprint could quadruple by 2050.
And yet British Airways (BA) insists carbon neutral growth from 2020, [note this is growth, not just being carbon neutral] in line with voluntary international aviation targets, is more than possible using a combination of operational efficiencies and new technology.
Through its One Destination plan the company is aiming to halve its net CO2 emissions [net CO2 emissions, not gross emissions – net cuts come largely from buying carbon credits from other sectors] by 2050 against 2005 levels and Jonathon Counsell, BA’s head of environment, is “absolutely confident” it can deliver on the ambitious target.
“For us, that [level] means the aviation industry can grow sustainably,” he says. “If the rest of the world can deliver 50% cuts that keeps us at 3% [of global emissions], which we think is a sustainable position.”
[This means that the rest of the UK economy has to make carbon cuts of 80% of its level in 1990, by 2050. At the same time, the UK aviation industry is offering to keep its carbon emissions at the level they were in 2005 – which was much higher than in 1990 – by 2050. It plans to do this largely be trying to get whatever genuinely low carbon renewable fuels are available, rather than other sectors having them – there is no inherent logic in why aviation should get them. The aviation industry will try and make some small savings by being more efficient, filling planes, taking more direct routes, continuous descent and take off etc – including coatings on the outside of the plane …. And the aviation sector will only make net cuts, many of which are by buying carbon credits from other sectors which have actually cut their carbon and cut their energy use. Aviation expects to be about the one sector that does not have to make actual cuts in carbon emissions. That is not even taking into account the radiative forcing effects of non-CO2 emissions from planes, such as NOx and formation of cirrus cloud, which effectively approximately double the climate effect of the CO2 alone ].
The big problem BA has to overcome to meet its goal is jet fuel consumption, which represents 99 per cent of its overall carbon footprint.
For a start, the company has “about 50 initiatives” dedicated to flying smarter, shorter, and lighter, Counsell says, with an overall goal of reducing carbon emissions to 83 grams per passenger kilometre by 2035. The company has already made steady progress from its 2007 baseline of 110g/CO2 pkm, reaching just over 102g/CO2 pkm in 2011.
Over the next four months 60 flights to the US will experiment with using GPS to track more direct routes and smooth take-offs and landings to avoid wasting fuel. Quicker landings also avoid keeping aircraft in holding patterns, which has unwanted noise and pollution effects.
Counsell anticipates further savings when a new fleet of 12 Airbus A380s and 24 Boeing 787s comes in next year. Both of these models are slated to be 20 per cent more efficient than the aircraft they are replacing.
Meanwhile, the company is also taking innovative steps designed to deliver incremental efficiency savings. For example, BA has realised some flights require less potable water on board than others – contrast a corporate traveller-dominated overnight service to New York with a daytime journey stacked with children to Florida, for example. Profiling such flights has helped shrink reserves from the standard 1.5 tonnes on a 747 to one tonne, lightening the load and saving fuel.
Similarly, Counsell predicts further fuel savings of 0.4 per cent could be achieved with a low-friction outside coating for aircraft which has already performed well in tests.
However, with the exception of the new aircraft, these efforts are unlikely to make the huge leaps demanded by BA’s sustainability goals – so to make the requisite progress BA is investing heavily in alternative green fuels.
The company signed a deal with US-based biofuels specialist Solena in 2009 committing to work together to build a biofuels plant at one of four sites in East London capable of turning waste into jet fuel.
Using waste as a feedstock bypasses the criticisms levelled at traditional, crop-based fuels of damaging land use change and pushing up food prices.
Counsell reckons the Solena plant could account for two per cent of BA’s fuel from 2015 and says construction work is imminent.
“We have a preferred site for the project and an engineering company that will build it,” he says. “We’re getting close to having all the pieces in the jigsaw coming together … [and] should be making an announcement before the end of the year.
Lufthansa, KLM, and Virgin are among other large carriers experimenting with alternative fuels and as oil prices spike and pressure to cut emissions grows and Counsell envisages a future where sustainable biofuels account for 20% of the industry’s fuel.
“It’s been proven the will is there, the technology is now a commercial issue,” he adds. “The route we’re going down will be cost competitive with fossil fuel by 2015. And once we’ve proven the technology, we can look at building more plants across the UK.”
Many of these green policies are seemingly at odds with the image BA has created for itself by lobbying for extra airport capacity, most notably a third runway at Heathrow, and through the frequent attacks Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company International Airlines Group (IAG), has launched at the EU’s aviation emissions rules.
Counsell is quick to counter the view held by many environmentalists that the company is undermining green progress. He says the new A380s are three quarters quieter than 747s when coming into land, [this is a highly misleading statement – it really is not 75% quieter in terms of what someone on the ground hears, merely a technical measurement of sound energy – amounting to a few decibels less noise heard. AirportWatch comment] while reduced congestion will improve air quality around airports. [Most airports make a great deal of money from car parking, so are reluctant to reduce the number of car journeys bringing passengers to the airport. AirportWatch comment] Such arguments combined with a perceived need to open up new routes to emerging economies seem to be swaying some members of the government, with David Cameron recently launching a new review of airport capacity.
However, green groups have consistently maintained expanding airports will require other sectors of the economy to make far deeper carbon cuts to meet the UK’s target of reducing emissions 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. Moreover, they point out that airline’s inclusion in the EU’s emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) should push up the cost of flying, negating the need for extra capacity.
Counsell says BA supports emissions trading, which covers all flights in and out of the EU. But he is “very concerned that including all emissions outside of the EU could attract retaliatory action”.
This worry may be borne out: China has already reportedly frozen a $14bn order with Airbus in protest against the EU scheme, while the US Congress has considered two bills that would effectively ban US airlines from complying with the EU regulation. Meanwhile, Chinese and Indian airlines have both refused to supply the EU with emissions data, laying the foundations for a major legal battle. However, reports suggest no one country wants to impose punitive measures without a clear indication others will join it.
All sides in the dispute would prefer a global solution agreed through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), but final proposals for a new emissions management regime are not expected to be presented by the UN body until October 2013, and its slow progress to date was what prompted the EU to start its regional scheme in the first place.[The proposals will be put to ICAO in March 2013, but agreement is difficult as the airlines and governments of developed and developing countries have areas – especially involveing money – on which they cannot agree. AirportWatch comment].
Counsell argues that the EU should head off the risk of a major trade war by changing the law so it only considers carbon emitted in EU airspace or exempts in-bound flights before carriers start to submit carbon offsets.
“This is straight-forward to do – a simple and pragmatic solution – and we’re running out of time,” he warns. “If the EU fails to amend [EU ETS] we will go through a very difficult period that will be potentially damaging to EU carriers.”
Solena partnership with BA to produce jet fuel from London municipal waste – delayed over 2 years?
Date added: September 10, 2012
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. Little news can be found about it, and there is no planning application yet. 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.
Lufthansa turns to algae and municipal solid waste as sources of jet biofuel
Date added: September 23, 2012
In a long and detailed article, with customary thoroughness, Green Air examines what is happening with Lufthansa and jet biofuel. While Solena has still not announced progress on building a plant in east London to produce jet fuel from London’s municipal waste for BA, it is progressing in Germany. There are plans in the Schwedt/Oder region of eastern Germany to build a Solena facility, using waste from landfills and incinerators. They hope to convert more than 520,000 tonnes of waste biomass into jet fuel, diesel fuel and electricity. Lufthansa is also looking to obtain jet fuel made from algae by Australian based Algae.Tec, which plans to grow algae in 40 ft shipping containers, using light capture arrays and light tubes, and CO2 from an industrial source – as well as water and minerals. Algae.Tec have so far opened a one-container test facility south of Sydney.
Lufthansa pilots algae jet fuel plant in Europe
German airline signs deal with Australian company to build industrial-scale plant in an unnamed country
21 Sep 2012
Lufthansa will team up with Australian biofuels company Algae.Tec to build a large-scale plant producing aviation fuels from algae.
The two companies signed a collaboration deal earlier this week for the facility, which is due to be sited in an unnamed European country adjacent to an industrial CO2 source.
Under the terms of the deal, the German airline will arrange all of the funding and purchase half of the fuel produced. Algae.Tec will manage the project and receive licence fees and profits.
Algae.Tec said the agreement forms the base for “long-term cooperation” between the two companies for “the industrial production of crude algae suitable for conversion into aviation kerosene and conventional diesel fuels.”
A Lufthansa spokeswoman told news agency Reuters the plans are still in the early stages and yet to be given final approval by the Lufthansa board.
No details have yet been given as to when the plant will begin producing the fuel, how much it may cost or how large it will be.
Algae is one of a number of feedstocks being considered for greener fuels that avoid the land use change and sustainability issues of crop-based biofuels.
Lufthansa had been trialling a biofuel mix during domestic and international flights, but said in January it was cancelling the experimentafter being unable to find sufficient sustainably sourced supplies.
In related news, aircraft traffic services company NATS has teamed up with British Airways (BA) for a four-month trial of environmentally “perfect” transatlantic flights, which could help reduce the impact of the projected doubling of European air traffic by 2030.
The first phase of the Topflight project will see 60 BA flights experiment with operational techniques such as taxiing to an optimised flight profile and continuous descent approach designed to achieve minimal emissions and delay.
It is expected that each trip will save approximately 500kg in fuel, equivalent to 1.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions. A previous collaboration between the two in 2010 saw a single environmentally optimised flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh save a quarter of a tonne of fuel and nearly one tonne of CO2.
The project, which comes under the auspices of the European Community’s Single European Sky initiative (SESAR), would then look at introducing multiple “perfect” flights crossing the Atlantic simultaneously to prove that the concept is viable for the industry as a whole.
“Topflight is an exciting opportunity to prove the ‘perfect’ flight concept is scalable and sustainable in an operational environment,” said Patrick Ky, executive director at the SESAR Joint Undertaking. “If successful, the trial could have a profound impact on the way the aviation industry works in the future.”