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Shell, BA planning EU's first waste-to-jet fuel plant

London

AEROPLANES could be powered by jet fuel made from household rubbish from 2024 under plans by Shell, British Airways (BA) and Velocys to build Europe's first large-scale plant to produce jet fuel from domestic and commercial waste.

Aviation accounts for around 2.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions but this is predicted to grow as air travel increases, at a time when nations are seeking to limit emissions to curb climate change.

The aviation industry has a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 compared with 2005 levels and sees the emergence of lower-carbon biofuels as a vital step to meeting this goal.

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Shell, BA and Velocys - which have applied for planning permission for the plant from local authorities in North-east Lincolnshire - are targeting domestic or commercial black bag waste that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerators.

Waste-to-energy is already commonly used in the power sector, where household rubbish such as food or grass cuttings are burnt to generate electricity.

"Sustainable fuels can be a game changer for aviation which will help power our aircraft for years to come," said BA chairman and chief executive officer Alex Cruz.

Construction on the Altalto Immingham project, near the Humber Estuary in the north-east of England, could begin in 2021 with the site producing commercial volumes of sustainable aviation fuel three years later.

Altalto Immingham Ltd is a subsidiary of fuel technology firm Velocys. A planning decision by the North-east Lincolnshire Council is expected by the end of November.

BA and Shell will also purchase the biofuel produced, which emits around 70 per cent less greenhouse gases compared with the fossil fuel equivalent, Velocys said. REUTERS