British Airways is to power future flights with sustainable aviation fuel produced from sustainably-sourced ethanol, as part of a new partnership with sustainable jet fuel company LanzaJet.
The partnership, which reflects the importance the airline is placing on sustainability and its continued investment in sustainable aviation fuel, will see British Airways invest in LanzaJet’s first commercial scale Freedom Pines Fuels facility in Georgia, USA and acquire cleaner burning sustainable aviation fuel from the plant. It expects the fuel to be available to power a number of its flights by the end of 2022. In addition, the partnership will involve LanzaJet implementing early stage planning and design for a potential commercial facility for British Airways in the UK.
The plant in Georgia is due to begin construction this year. It will convert sustainable ethanol (a chemical compound widely blended with petrol to reduce its carbon intensity) into sustainable aviation fuel using a patented chemical process.
The fuel produced at the plant will deliver a reduction of more than 70 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil jet fuel, equivalent to taking almost 27,000 petrol or diesel cars off the road each year.
The sustainable aviation fuel produced by LanzaJet is made via the LanzaJet™ Alcohol to Jet (AtJ) Process, which can use any source of sustainable ethanol, including, but not limited to, ethanol made from non-edible agricultural residues such as wheat straw and recycled pollution. Commercialisation of AtJ has been years in the making, starting with the partnership between LanzaTech (which launched LanzaJet in June 2020) and the U.S Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).
The development and use of sustainable aviation fuels is a major focus for British Airways and forms part of the airline’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a series of short, medium and long-term initiatives. The airline has an existing partnership with sustainable fuels technology company Velocys, with the goal of building a facility to convert household and commercial waste into renewable sustainable jet fuel in the UK. Fuel could be produced by 2025. British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group, will be investing US$400 million in sustainable aviation fuel in the next 20 years.