UK-based fuels firm Velocys recently gained planning permission to build the UK’s first waste-to-jet-fuel plant named Altato Immingham. Velocys will work alongside British Airways and Shell to build the plant. Subject to additional funding and financial close, construction is set to begin in 2022, with fuel potentially being produced from 2025.
Velocys Vision The firm hopes that Altalto will be the first in a fleet of world leading sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facilities using Velocys technology. They also aim to provide a blueprint that could make the UK a global centre for SAF production.
Located in the East Midlands, Altalto will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes each year of non-recyclable everyday household and commercial waste, otherwise destined for landfill or incineration, and convert it into SAF. The fuel will deliver a net CO2 saving of around 70% for each tonne of conventional fuel it replaces, whilst particulate matter emissions will be up to 90% lower and Sulphur emissions close to zero.
Dr Neville Hargreaves, Vice President, Waste to Fuels at Velocys, said:
“We hope to see the Altalto plant producing SAF at commercial scale by the middle of this decade. Recent forecasts from industry coalition Sustainable Aviation show that 32% of the UK demand for kerosene could be met by domestically produced SAF by 2050- we want to be at the forefront of this movement.”
Dr Hargreaves added: “Aviation is one of the most challenging transport sectors to decarbonise — and SAF is essential to it. There is no alternative that can match the energy density of liquid hydrocarbon fuel, required for long haul flight, at least for several decades. As we look beyond COVID-19 and towards the green recovery, sustainable aviation, and SAF in particular, will have a central role to play if we are to continue flying and cut emissions.”
How is the progress going so far? In early June, Velocys received planning permission for the Altalto plant site in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire which was a huge milestone in the life of the project so far. They have gained great support from partners and suppliers and as a result have been able to deliver high-quality engineering work to support the development.
Main challenges According to Dr Hargreaves:
“Commercialising SAF production will be a game-changing industrial, economic and environmental opportunity for the UK and projects like ours demonstrate the growing demand for SAF, with the aviation industry looking for partnerships which will make widespread use of SAF a reality.”
Said Dr Hargreaves. Dr Hargreaves, continues: “However, financing complex and innovative projects like this is always a challenge and requires a strong partnership between private investors and government. We recently secured a £500,000 grant from the Department for Transport to fund further project development. With the right support, SAF plants like ours will provide meaningful scale of supply within the decade and play a significant role in reaching the net zero target by 2050.”