Waste as Jet Fuel? British Airways Says Yes

British Airways looks like it’s on track to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2050. Both the airline and Shell have made plans to reduce emissions by turning commercial waste into fuel.

Altalto Immingham, a subsidiary of U.K.-based renewable fuel company Velocys, has submitted plans to create a site that would take more than a half-million tons of nonrecyclable waste, such as coffee cups and meal packaging, and turn into cleaner, sustainable jet fuel.

MoreCaesars Aims to Build Most Sustainable Pillar-less Ballroom in World

This technology will reduce greenhouse emissions by 70 percent for every ton of sustainable jet fuel that substitutes conventional jet fuel, equal to taking 40,000 cars off the road every year. British Airways intends to purchase this jet fuel from Velocys’ site for use in its aircrafts.

Whether this a response to the advent of Europe’s flygskam (Swedish for flight-shaming) movement, which encourages people to stop flying and seek alternate modes of travel, such as trains—is unknown.  It’s a movement that gained steam when opera singer Malena Ernman announced she would stop flying, and other Swedish celebrities followed suit. Either way, reduction in the production of carbon emissions into the earth’s atmosphere is good news.

MoreAn Event Planners’ Guide to Sustainability

Not only will emissions be cut in half, but the sustainable fuel will result in air quality improvement with up to a 90 percent reduction in soot build-up from aircraft engine exhausts and an almost 100 percent reduction in sulfur oxide production. This process also offers a lower emissions route to process than if it were to go to the landfill or be burned.

Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways, called this move a “game-changer for aviation.”

He added, “This development is an important step in the reduction of our carbon emissions and meeting the industry targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020, and a 50 percent in CO2 reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels. It also brings the U.K. another step closer to becoming a global leader in sustainable aviation fuels.”

advertisement