British Airways have decided to partner with the renewable fuels company, Velocys, to turn household garbage into fuel for their planes. This is their second attempt at creating a renewable fuel for their flights, as their first partnership with Solena Fuels fell through, mainly due to mixed support from the government, cautious investors and low crude oil prices available at the time. However, this new verge into a renewable source of energy for their flights shows promise and is gaining the company praise as many people look forward to a renewable-fueled future.
The partnership with British Airways and Velocys will see hundreds of thousands of tonnes of trash that would otherwise be destined for landfill being made into clean-burning sustainable fuel. This garbage will include items like nappies, chocolate wrappers, plastic food containers and many other items that can’t be recycled in other ways. The fuel that will be produced from these actions will allow the airline to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% compared to what they would be with conventional fossil fuels.
This movement will also ensure that there will be 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide savings every year, which will be significant if British Airways want to stick to their pledge to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.
The partnership will hopefully provide enough fuel to power of all British Airway’s 787 Dreamliner flights on flights that are equal to the routes following London to San Jose or New Orleans, which will see plenty of flights covered by the distance that this fuel will provide the airline.
The venture is more likely to succeed this time, mostly because Velocys is already producing waste-based biofuels in the US, showing that they are reliable and can provide what they have pledged. As well as this, the UK government has added sustainable jet fuel incentives under its Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), which means that with backing from the government both the airline and any sponsors it may have are appearing favourable in the government’s eyes.
The plan under the venture is for British Airways and Velocys to help design a series of plants that will generate fuel from the household waste they receive. From here the first plant will use hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per year – which will be sourced from 5 million tonnes of waste that is sent to UK landfill sites every year – and will create the fuel to ensure that British Airways flights can reach their destinations without burning up fossil fuels on the way.