British Airways (BA) has announced that it is to start introducing blended fuel into its transatlantic flights from 2022. BA will be investing in a new Georgia-based LanzaJet U.S. plant which will produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at a commercial-scale volume, which will be made from ethanol which has been derived from agricultural and other waste products. According to BA the fuel has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 70% when compared to conventional aviation fuel. However, the SAV-to-conventional fuel mix will only be partial, despite the fact that SAF can be used up to a 50% substitution level.
To date, demonstration flights – such as one conducted in 2018 by Virgin Atlantic with LanzaTech (from which LanzaJet was subsequently spun off) – was with a blend which included only 5% of the greener fuel. IAG, the owner of British Airways, intends to invest £300m (US$414m) in SAV as part of its commitment to decarbonize by 2050, while it will also be looking to build a refinery with LanzaTech in the U.K., in addition to a waste-to-fuel plant in partnership with Velocys.
BA said it expects the LanzaJet fuel to “be available to power a number of its flights by the end of 2022”. Its chief executive, Sean Doyle, said: “Following the successful startup of the Georgia plant, we hope to then deploy the technology and SAF production capacity in the U.K.” However, Doyle added that: “We need government support to drive decarbonisation and accelerate the realisation of this vision.”