British Airways will become the first airline to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced on a commercial scale in the UK.
The carrier announced it will fly planes using the lower carbon fuel from early next year.
The SAF will be produced at Phillips 66’s Humber Refinery near Immingham, Lincolnshire using renewable foodstocks such as waste fats, oils and greases.
British Airways has agreed to purchase enough of the fuel to reduce its lifecycle CO2 emissions by nearly 100,000 tonnes, which could power the equivalent of 700 net-zero flights between London and New York.
SAF production reduces carbon emissions by around 80% compared with traditional jet fuel, but it is currently more expensive.
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle said the agreement with Phillips 66 is an “important step on our journey” to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and powering 10% of flights with SAF by 2030.
He went on: “The UK has the resources and capabilities to be a global leader in the development of SAF and scaling up the production of SAF requires a truly collaborative approach between industry and Government.
— British Airways (@British_Airways) December 3, 2021
“We are excited to develop our relationship with Phillips 66 Limited further with a view to growing production capacity and using a wider range of sustainable waste feedstocks to supply our future flights.
“The development of sustainable aviation fuel is a major focus for us and forms part of our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a series of short, medium and long-term initiatives.”
British Airways operated its first flight using SAF from London to Glasgow during last month’s Cop26 climate summit.
The airline said the flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow demonstrated how “aviation is decarbonising”.
— Phillips 66 (@Phillips66Co) November 19, 2021
SAF can be blended with traditional fuel at up to 50%.
Humber Refinery general manager Darren Cunningham said the announcement demonstrates “the importance the aviation and energy industries are placing on sustainability”.
He continued: “The Humber Refinery was the first in the UK to co-process waste oils to produce renewable fuels and now we will be the first to produce SAF at scale, and we are delighted British Airways is our first UK customer.
“We’re currently refining almost half a million litres of sustainable waste feedstocks a day, and this is just a start.
“Markets for lower-carbon products are growing, and this agreement demonstrates our ability to supply them.”