One Man’s Trash is British Airways’ Treasure?
British Airways (BA) has taken a major step in its goal to reduce carbon emissions by solidifying a location for its new fuel plant as part of its GreenSky project. Don’t worry though, this isn’t the fossil-fuel-burning, air-polluting plant you might be picturing. The new plant will use landfill waste to produce fuel.
The Guardian reports the new GreenSky fuel plant will be built in Thurrock, Essex and operated by Solena Fuels. The construction will create 1,000 jobs and once built, the new facility will provide about 150 permanent jobs at the Thames Enterprise Park. Most importantly, it will allow the airline giant to make a big reduction in its carbon footprint. Chief Executive of International Airlines Group (BA’s parent company) Willie Walsh said, “The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly.”
The fuel plant will use about 575,000 tonnes of waste, normally discarded in landfills, to make 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels. Solena says it will use its own patented technology with current techniques to convert the waste into gas, and then the gas into fuels. The GreenSky project commits BA to buy 50,000 tonnes of the jet fuel for at least 11 years.
The impact of the switch will be reflected in the drastic amount of carbon that will be spared from the environment. Walsh said, “The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.” That’s just the beginning prediction. If other airlines choose to partake, or BA decides to buy more than 50,000 tonnes a year, the emissions reduced could be endless.
Solena Fuels president, Robert Do, says of the plant’s plans, “We anticipate starting construction of the site in approximately 12 months after all the requisite permits and agreements have been obtained.” The company anticipates the plant will be open and operating by 2017. Perhaps with the new fuel source, they’ll stop charging so much for luggage that is only one pound over the weight allowance!
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