Sustainable aviation fuel project gets £9m funding

Aviation decarbonisation has lifted off with British Airways, Nova Pangaea Technologies and LanzaJet’s ‘Project Speedbird’ wins £9m government funding.

The joint-partnership project has received cash from the Government’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF) competition, with Teeside-based NPT, which develops aviation biofuels, being awarded £7.5m and LanzaJet, an ethanol to sustationable aviation fuel (SAF) company, will receive £1.5 million.

It follows the multi-million-pound investments from British Airways and parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) earlier this year into NPT and Project Speedbird. IAG is also a founding investor and shareholder of LanzaJet dating back to 2021.

The SAF will be developed using a combination of NPT’s technology, which converts agricultural waste and wood residue feedstocks into second-generation biofuels such as ethanol, and LanzaJet’s proprietary technology that converts ethanol into SAF.

Project Speedbird will produce 102 million litres of SAF per year, which will reduce CO2 emissions, on a net lifecycle basis, by 230,000 tonnes per year – around 26,000 British Airways domestic flights.

Sarah Ellerby, Chief Executive of Nova Pangaea Technologies, said: ““Our first commercial-scale production facility will be the first of its kind in the UK, and will use wood residues and non-food derived agricultural waste as its feedstocks.

“Our partnership, Project Speedbird, will play a transformational role in decarbonising the aviation sector, as well as providing local employment opportunities in the North East.”

Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, said: “Sustainable aviation fuel will play a critical role in meeting our net zero targets and is currently the only realistic low carbon solution for long-haul flights, so it is vital that we continue to invest and develop SAF technology in order to create enough supply.

“The UK has the potential to become a leader in the production of SAF, and this pioneering project is one step closer to this becoming a reality and a big moment for British Airways and UK SAF production more generally.”   

Jimmy Samartzis, Chief Executive Officer at LanzaJet, said: “Government support like this is critical in facilitating that growth and we’re thrilled to be working with exceptional partners like Nova Pangaea Technologies and British Airways – making sure these goals become reality.”

Image from Shutterstock

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