BA and Solena plan waste-to-biofuel plant

In a bid to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, British Airways (BA) has teamed up with Solena Group, a renewable energy producer, to construct a waste-to-biofuels plant.

Solena will invest around $300 million (€233.9 million) in the plant and is already considering two potential sites, both located close by to Dagenham, east London, UK.

The plant will produce 16 million gallons of biofuel each year for a decade, creating 200 permanent jobs in addition to the 1,000 workers needed throughout the construction phase.

Subject to gaining planning permission, construction on the facility is scheduled to commence in 2011 before it becomes operational between the beginning and middle of 2014.

According to Jonathan Counsell, head of environment at BA, the biofuel produced contains 95% less GHGs than regular jet fuel and will be roughly 2% of the company’s yearly consumption of airline fuel. It is still unknown whether BA will sell the surplus fuel to airlines at London’s City Airport or those at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

It is hoped that BA will lead the way in encouraging other airline companies to do the same. ‘Once it’s proven to be successful, we would look to build many more of these plants,’ said Counsell. ‘We’re trying to encourage other airlines to go down this route so that there are plants all around the world and we can pick up this product anywhere we fly.’

Utilising around 1,500 tonnes of waste every day, the plant will also generate 40MW of electricity – 50% of which will power the plant, while the remaining half will be injected into the grid.

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