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British Airways to use biofuel

British Airways and Solena Group are establishing a sustainable jet-fuel plant as BA plans to use the biofuel to power part of its fleet from 2014.

The biofuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in waste-to-energy facility that can convert a variety of waste materials destined for landfill, into aviation biofuel.

The biofuel will be produced by feeding waste into a high temperature gasifier, producing BioSynGas. A process known as Fischer Tropsch then converts the gas into biofuel to produce biojet fuel and bionaphtha. Bionaphtha is used as a blending component in petrol and also as a feedstock for the petrochemicals industry.

The Fischer Tropsch tail gas can also be used to produce 20 MW of excess electricity for export to the national grid or converted into steam to be used in a district heating system.

British Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase all the biofuel produced by the plant, which will be built by the Solena Group, an advanced bioenergy and biofuels company based in Washington DC, USA.

Fuels London City Airport flights

The self-contained biofuel plant, likely to be sited in east London, UK, will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet biofuel.

According to British Airways, this volume of biofuel is more than double the amount required to make all of British Airways' flights at London City Airport carbon-neutral. [BA flies to 10 destinations from London City Airport compared to 107 from Heathrow, ed.]

Willie Walsh, British Airways' CEO, says: "This unique partnership with Solena will pave the way for realising our ambitious goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50% by 2050. We believe it will lead to the production of a real sustainable alternative to jet kerosene. We are absolutely determined to reduce our impact on climate change and are proud to lead the way on aviation's environmental initiatives."

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