The UK government has awarded £53 million in funding to nine projects to produce more sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), including British Airways’ Project Speedbird production facility.
The latest grants from the government’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF) competition are designed to help the fledgling SAF industry to produce enough fuel to meet the mandate requiring airlines to use at least 10 per cent SAF as part of their fuel mix by 2030.
Tim Alderslade, CEO of industry body Airlines UK, said: “Delivering a UK SAF industry this decade is a must if we are to drive down emissions from aviation, meet our 10 per cent SAF mandate and reduce costs for consumers.
“We welcome this latest funding announcement, which will support a number of innovative projects across all parts of the UK.”
Project Speedbird, which is a partnership between BA and energy specialist firms Nova Pangaea Technologies and LanzaJet, plans to build a production facility in Teesside by 2027.
The UK facility will use agricultural waste and wood residue as feedstocks to create SAF and will produce 102 million litres of SAF annually from 2028. This will reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 230,000 tonnes per year, which would be the equivalent of around 26,000 domestic BA flights.
The extra funding from the UK government comes after investments from both BA and parent company IAG earlier this year.
Carrie Harris, BA’s director of sustainability, added: “We welcome the government’s investment and continued support in Project Speedbird which represents landmark new technology for UK SAF supply.
“The UK has the potential to become a leader in the production of SAF, and this pioneering project is one step closer to this becoming a reality and a big moment for British Airways and UK SAF production more generally.”
Other SAF projects to secure funding include a “demo” plant converting sawmill and forestry waste into sustainable fuel.
UK transport secretary Mark Harper said the investment in the projects “demonstrates our confidence in the UK’s SAF industry”.
“Thanks to this government’s backing, the UK is quickly becoming a SAF superpower – ensuring people can continue to travel how they want in a way that’s fit for the future,” added Harper.