Oxforshire-based Velocys plc, a sustainable fuels technology company, has announced that planning permission has been granted to Altalto Immingham, the UK’s first commercial waste-to-jet-fuel plant which will convert hundreds of thousands of tonnes per year of non-recyclable everyday household and commercial waste, otherwise destined for landfill or incineration, into cleaner burning sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The project is a collaboration between Velocys, British Airways PLC and Shell. It is expected to create 130 permanent skilled jobs and many more during construction. The fuel, based on technology supplied by Velocys, offers net greenhouse gas savings of around 70% for each tonne of conventional jet fuel it displaces.
It would also improve air quality, with up to 90% reduction in particulates from aircraft engine exhausts and almost 100% reduction in sulphur oxides. Subject to additional funding and financial close, construction is targeted to begin in 2022, and the facility could be producing fuel from as early as 2025.
Velocys CEO Henrik Wareborn said: “It is fantastic news that the planning committee has approved our waste-to-jet-fuel project, which will be a first for the UK. Sustainable aviation fuels are essential for decarbonising this challenging sector and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
“That is why Velocys are calling on the Government to coordinate policy between departments to help us fund a fleet of world-leading sustainable aviation fuel facilities in the UK.”
Aviation minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “It is great to see the industry leading the way in creating new technologies to help achieve our target of net zero emissions by 2050, while also bringing new jobs to the local area.
“Innovative technologies – like the development of sustainable aviation fuels – firms up the UK’s position as a leader in aviation, and shows the determination the industry has in continuing to operate, but in a more environmentally friendly way.”
Councillor Philip Jackson, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “This development cements North East Lincolnshire’s place at the heart of the UK’s green industrial revolution, an area already renowned for its fuels production and offshore wind industry.
“For such a high profile project to the area just shows how competitive we are for the investment market, and with projects like this choosing our patch just shows how we can work with the private sector to make locating here an easy choice.
“I look forward to seeing what this will mean in terms of real jobs for local people, both during the construction phase and when the project is operational in the longer term.”
Velocys is an international UK-based sustainable fuels technology company. It designed, developed and now licenses proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technology for the generation of clean, low carbon, synthetic drop-in aviation and road transport fuel from municipal solid waste and waste woody biomass.
The company is currently developing two reference projects: one in Mississippi (incorporating carbon capture, utilisation and storage) and the one in Immingham, to produce fuels that significantly reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and key exhaust pollutants for aviation and road transport.
Originally a spin-out from Oxford University, in 2008 the company acquired a US company based on complementary technology developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.