Government £15 million funding for 8 companies, hoping to make low carbon jet fuels
The DfT has announced the spending of £15 million for 8 companies that hope to make the (dreamed of) low carbon jet fuels that the industry so desperately wants. None of the funding is, as far as can be ascertained, going into development of plant or animal lipids. Many of the contenders intend to use domestic, commercial or woody waste, to convert this using gasification and the (energy intensive) Fischer-Tropsch process, into fuel. One wants to use sewage. Another wants to use industrial flue gases. Another wants to use direct air capture CO2, combined with hydrogen from electrolysis. There are grandiose claims about how much fuel will be made, how low its lifetime carbon emissions will be. In reality, it is unlikely that using forestry waste (not tree trunks) will produce much. Domestic waste is a very variable material, that has proved difficult to reliably turn into fuel in any quantity (and it needs people to throw away enough food, plastic, paper and card). Many require large amounts of electricity that is genuinely produced from renewables, competing with other uses. And producing fuel is generally a less efficient use of electricity than using it directly for heating or movement. So a lot of pie in the sky. Watch how these develop in the next few years …
[It will be fascinating to watch this over the next five, or so, years, and see what happens to all these.]
Announced by the DfT
Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition: winners
Updated 6 December 2021
The winning proposals for the Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition were announced on 3 December 2021. Each organisation will receive a share of £15 million for the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) production plants in the UK.
Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd
Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (ABSL) 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 (FT) technology to convert 133,000 tonnes of waste a year into a biocrude that can be upgraded to aviation fuel.Awarded £2,054,000.
The alfanar’s lighthouse green fuels (LGF) project, located in Tees Valley, will use gasification and FT technology to convert household and commercial waste into around 180 million litres of SAF and naphtha. The project is currently completing design optimisation work ahead of starting front end engineering design (FEED) by the end of 2021.Awarded £2,417,500.
Fulcrum BioEnergy Ltd
The Fulcrum 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 around 100 million litres of SAF using gasification and FT technology. Funding will support the FEED stage of project work.
Green Fuels Research Ltd
The firefly project is a joint endeavour between Green Fuels, Petrofac and Cranfield University that aims to demonstrate and certify a technology route to SAF from sewage sludge, a fully biogenic, UK-derived waste feedstock. Funding will support the project’s pre-FEED development stage.
Lanzatech UK Ltd
Funding will support the FEED stage of a proposed Lanzatech facility, located in Port Talbot, South Wales. The facility will produce over 100 million litres a 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
This feasibility study project proposes the integration of innovative technologies to produce over 100 million litres per year of SAF. Carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from the atmosphere using Carbon Engineering’s direct air capture (DAC) technology, and hydrogen from water electrolysis, will be converted into SAF using LanzaTech’s gas fermentation and LanzaJetTM’s alcohol-to-jet technology developed by LanzaTech and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
Project members British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will study offtake potential and go-to-market routes for the fuel.
This feasibility project is a partnership between British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies. It will study the optimal design to construct a facility that produces more than 100 million litres a year using UK woody residues and the integration of Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA® and LanzaJetTM’s alcohol-to-jet fuel technology.Awarded £484,201.
The Altalto project is being developed by Velocys and British Airways, to build a commercial waste-to-SAF 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 FT technology. The project has received planning consent from North East Lincolnshire Council and funding will support progress towards FEED.Awarded £2,381,000.
All 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 conventional fossil jet fuel.Specifically, the competition supports large-scale SAF production projects with their early-stage development, often referred to as:FEED
Research indicates that by 2040 the SAF sector could generate between £0.7 billion and £1.66 billion a year for the UK economy, with potentially half of this coming from the export of intellectual property and the provision of engineering services.The industry could create between 5,000 and 11,000 green jobs, disproportionately in areas aligned with the levelling up agenda. It could also increase UK fuel security.
This competition builds on the work of previous Department for Transport industry competitions, including the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition (ABDC) and the ongoing Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) with the aim of unlocking the future environmental and economic benefits an advanced fuels industry can bring to the UK.
It is being delivered with the support of Ricardo Energy and Environment and E4tech.