British Airways Brings Forward Sustainable Fuel Ambitions

British Airways is bringing forward its sustainable fuel ambitions with a new partnership. By partnering with Lanzajet, the airline hopes to begin powering its aircraft with sustainable fuel from late next year. Previously, the ambition was to start using such fuel in 2025.

British Airways, Sustainable Fuel, LanzaJet
British Airways has launched a new partnership for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

While the current situation has made health and safety onboard aircraft the primary concern of airlines, it hasn’t detracted from the emphasis on sustainability and the global climate. This has been seen with airlines like Etihad offsetting carbon from an entire Boeing 787 for a year. British Airways itself has the goal of having net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

New partnership = new plant

Today British Airways revealed that it is launching a new partnership with LaznaJet to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuels in Georgia for its aircraft to run on. The fuels will be produced as the firm’s first commercial-scale Freedom Pines Fuel facility. LanzaTech previously produced SAFs for rival airline Virgin Atlantic for a transatlantic Boeing 747 flight. Fuel from this venture will be available for British Airways by the end of next year.

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The fuel is produced by an ‘Alcohol to Jet [fuel] process’. This sees any source of sustainable ethanol being turned into the very stuff that powers jet engines. One source of ethanol is the waste residue from processing wheat straw, which is not edible.

British Airways, Sustainable Fuel, LanzaJet
The company has already produced fuels that have been used by rival airline Virgin Atlantic. Photo: British Airways

British Airways believes that such fuels will reduce CO2 emissions by 70% compared to traditional fossil-based jet fuel. This would produce the equivalent effect of taking 27,000 fossil fuel-powered cars off of the road. According to the RAC, there were 38.8 million licensed vehicles in the UK as of September 2020.

A future UK plant?

As mentioned, the fuel for British Airways will initially be produced at a plant in Georgia, United States. However, there are plans to bring this slightly closer to home. As part of the partnership, BA and LanzaJet will launch early-stage planning and design to create a sustainable jet fuel manuactuing plant in the United Kingdom.

The partnership is the second such venture explored by the airline. It previously partnered with Velocys to build a SAF plant in the United Kingdom. Due to begin producing fuel in 2025, this plant is set to use household waste as a source for the fuel.

British Airways, Sustainable Fuel, LanzaJet
British Airways aims to be net-zero emissions by 2050. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Commenting on the news, British Airways CEO Sean Doyle said,

“Following the successful start-up of the Georgia plant, we hope to then deploy the technology and SAF production capacity in the UK. The UK has the experience and resources needed to become a global leader in the deployment of such sustainable aviation fuel production facilities, and we need Government support to drive decarbonisation and accelerate the realisation of this vision.”

What do you make of British Airways’ latest Sustainable Aviation Fuel venture? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!