New £16.5m facility close to the River Mersey will convert black bin bags into ‘sustainable’ aviation fuel. Tony McDonough reports
A new £16.5m facility is to be built at Ellesmere Port that will convert black plastic bin bags into ‘sustainable’ fuel for passenger jets.
Fulcrum BioEnergy has secured funding from the Government’s £165m Advanced Fuels Fund to build its NorthPoint facility at the Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port, close to the River Mersey.
So-called sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produces jet fuel from a variety of sources including household waste, used cooking oil as well as forestry and agricultural waste.
Because SAF is a ‘drop-in fuel’ it means it can be blended with conventional jet fuel without any modifications made to the aircraft engine. It is claimed it can reduce carbon emissions by at least 50%.
In September LBN reported that easyJet, which operates 25 routes out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, was looking to use SAF as one of a number of ways to slash its emissions.
NorthPoint will be based at the Stanlow refinery which is operated by Essar Oil UK. This already supplies jet fuel to a number of UK airports including Liverpool and Manchester. It signed a new deal with Liverpool in August this year.
US-based Fulcrum has a decade of experience developing SAF. It operates the Sierra BioFuels plant in Nevada which it claims is the first of its kind in the world.
SAF projects in Teesside and Port Talbot are also being backed by the Advanced Fuels Fund. Between them the three plants will aim to produce 300,000 tonnes of SAF a year. This is enough to fly to the moon and back an estimated 60 times.
Fulcrum will also operate the NorthPoint plant using hydrogen produced at Stanlow as part of the £47bn HyNet project. This will see hydrogen produced by natural gas with the carbon emissions captured and stored under Liverpool Bay.
Jeff Ovens, managing director of Fulcrum Bioenergy, said: “Alongside the operational experience gained from Sierra, this DfT funding will further help de-risk the NorthPoint Projec. It will target ‘investor ready’ status, in preparation for construction start in 2025 and operations in 2027.”
Today’s announcement comes less than a week after the Government announced that Virgin Atlantic has won the race to make the first net zero transatlantic flight next year – powered by SAF.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper added: “Using waste or by-products to refuel airliners sounds like a flight of fancy, but thanks to £165m of Government funding it’s going to help us make guilt-free flying a reality.
“It’s exactly this kind of innovation that will help us create thousands of green jobs across the country and slash our carbon emissions.”