British Airways plans to operate transatlantic flights partially powered by sustainable fuels as early as next year in a move that would generate 70% less carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel.
BA plans to invest in a new US plant to be built in Georgia by LanzaJet, which will produce sustainable aviation fuel from sustainably-sourced ethanol. BA expects the fuel to be available to power a number of its flights by the end of 2022.
SAF can be used to substitute for up to 50% of conventional jet fuel. However, most of the previously conducted demonstration flights used only 5% of greener fuel.
The airline’s owner, IAG has pledged to invest almost £300m in SAF as part of its pledge to decarbonise by 2050. It is understood that the fuel would likely provide a fraction of BA’s overall fuel needs at first.
IAG said it would investigate building a refinery with LanzaTech in the UK, as well as a waste-to-fuel plant in partnership with Velocys.
Last month, Dutch airline KLM’s operated its first commercial flight powered by sustainable synthetic kerosene on its Amsterdam to Madrid route. Shell made 500 litres – just over 5% of the flight’s overall fuel burn – synthesised from CO2 and water using renewable energy sources.
Pieter Elbers, the chief executive of KLM, said: “The transition from fossil fuel to sustainable alternatives is one of the largest challenges in aviation. This first flight on synthetic kerosene shows that it is possible in practice and that we can move forward.”
In January, plane manufacturer Boeing also announced that all of its commercial planes would be able and certified to fly on 100% sustainable fuels by the year 2030.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.