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UK Department for Transport reveals “Green Fuels, Green Skies” shortlist

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has released details of eight industry-led projects shortlisted to receive a share of GBP15 million (≈ EUR 17.6 million) in the "Green Fuels, Green Skies" (GFGS) competition for the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) production plants in the UK.

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The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has released details of eight industry-led projects shortlisted to receive a share of GBP15 million (≈ EUR 17.6 million) in the “Green Fuels, Green Skies” (GFGS) competition for the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) production plants in the UK.

According to DfT, the shortlisted proposals include plants aiming to produce SAF from a range of residual sources including combining carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from the atmosphere with hydrogen from water; alcohol derived from wastes; non-recyclable municipal solid waste (MSW) and commercial “black bag rubbish”; and sewage.

All selected projects have a clear potential to produce SAF capable of reducing emissions by more than 70 percent on a lifecycle basis when used in place of conventional fossil jet fuel.

Specifically, the competition supports large-scale SAF production projects with their early-stage development such as front end engineering design (FEED), pre-FEED and feasibility studies.

Research conducted by Ricardo Energy and Environment and E4tech on behalf of DfT indicate that by 2040 the SAF sector could generate between GBP0.7 billion (≈ EUR 822.26 million) and GBP1.66 billion (≈ EUR 1.95 billion) a year for the UK economy, with potentially half of this coming from the export of intellectual property (IP) and the provision of engineering services.

The industry could create between 5 000 and 11 000 green jobs, disproportionately in areas aligned with the levelling up agenda. It could also increase UK fuel security.

Being delivered with the support of Ricardo Energy and Environment and E4tech, the “Green Skies, Green Fuels” competition builds on the work of previous DfT industry competitions, including the Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition (ABDC) and the ongoing Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) with the aim of unlocking the future environmental and economic benefits an advanced fuels industry can bring to the UK.

The shortlisted organisations are:

Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (ABSL) – that will work with a British refinery and British engineering company to produce a detailed engineering design for a new facility in Cheshire. The plant will use gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology to convert 133 000 tonnes of waste a year into a biocrude that can be upgraded to aviation fuel.

Alfanar Energy Ltd – Alfanar’s lighthouse green fuels (LGF) project, located in Tees Valley, will use gasification and FT technology to convert household and commercial waste into around 180 million litres of SAF and naphtha. The project is currently completing design optimisation work ahead of starting FEED by the end of 2021.

Fulcrum BioEnergy Ltd – The Fulcrum NorthPoint project, being developed at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, will use proven technology and processes based on the company’s first commercial-scale facility currently being commissioned in the United States (US). Once fully operational, NorthPoint will convert residual waste into around 100 million litres of SAF using gasification and FT technology. Funding will support the FEED stage of project work.

Green Fuels Research Ltd – The firefly project is a joint endeavour between Green Fuels, Petrofac and Cranfield University that aims to demonstrate and certify a technology route to SAF from sewage sludge, a fully biogenic, UK-derived waste feedstock. Funding will support the project’s pre-FEED development stage.

LanzaTech UK Ltd – Funding will support the FEED stage of a proposed LanzaTech facility, located in Port Talbot, South Wales. The facility will produce over 100 million litres a year of SAF, using ethanol from biogenic wastes and industry flue gases, with the potential to support significant jobs in the area.

LanzaTech UK Ltd and Carbon Engineering Ltd – This feasibility study project proposes the integration of innovative technologies to produce over 100 million litres per year of SAF. CO2 captured from the atmosphere using Carbon Engineering’s direct air capture (DAC) technology, and hydrogen from water electrolysis will be converted into SAF using LanzaTech’s gas fermentation and LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) technology developed by LanzaTech and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Project members British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will study offtake potential and go-to-market routes for the fuel.

Nova Pangaea Technologies (UK) Ltd – This feasibility project is a partnership between British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies. It will study the optimal design to construct a facility that produces more than 100 million litres a year using UK woody residues and the integration of Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA and LanzaJet’s AtJ technology.

Velocys Projects Ltd – The Altalto project is being developed by Velocys and British Airways, to build a commercial waste-to-SAF plant in Immingham, Lincolnshire. Altalto will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes per year of black bag waste and convert it into SAF using gasification and FT technology. The project has received planning consent from North East Lincolnshire Council and funding will support progress towards FEED.

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