British Airways has signed an agreement with a host of aviation solutions firms to extend a project aiming to develop cost-effective sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for commercial use in the UK

Published 3rd November 2022

British Airways applies for funding for large-scale sustainable aviation fuels production in UK

Overall, Project Speedbird has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 770,000 tonnes a year

British Airways partnered with LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies to launch Project Speedbird in 2021. The project aims to develop SAFs in the UK for commercial use.

Project Speedbird was initially granted nearly £500,000 by the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Green Fuels, Green Skies competition to fund an initial feasibility study for the early-stage development of the project. Now, the company has applied for the Department’s Advanced Fuels Fund grant for additional funding, as part of the department’s Jet Zero strategy which includes implementing a SAF mandate to come into force in 2025. This will require at least 10% of UK jet fuel to be SAF by 2030.

The process will see agricultural and wood waste taken and converted into bioethanol and biochar. LanzaJet’s patented alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology will then convert it into SAFs.

The conversion will take place at a UK facility, which is planned to be built in North East England. Construction could begin as early as 2023 and SAFs are expected to be produced by 2026.

British Airways intends to offtake all SAF produced through Project Speedbird to help power its flights. British Airways claims the SAFs would reduce emissions on a net lifecycle basis by 230,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent emissions of approximately 26,000 domestic flights.

Overall, Project Speedbird has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 770,000 tonnes a year.