BA seeks new waste fuel partner
British Airways has insisted it is still keen to go ahead with its biofuels project despite the collapse of its co-developer, falling oil prices and lack of government support.
BA had partnered with US bio fuel firm Solena Fuels to create a biofuel plant at Coryton, Essex, but the plans were halted when Solena filed for bankruptcy in October. The airline has said it is searching for a new partner for the project, but the dramatic fall in oil prices means investors are not as keen on such schemes, a major factor in Solena’s demise.
“We are talking to a number of biofuel companies, some discussions are more progressed than others,” said a BA spokeswoman. “We are very, very keen to get a new waste fuel project up and running as soon as possible.” She added, however, that any new project was “unlikely” to be on the original site.
The scheme with Solena to create aviation fuel from London’s rubbish was due to commence next year. It would have used household waste towed along the river from the capital, with gases from this extracted and liquefied to form biofuel. This would then be mixed with fossil-derived kerosene, with the initial plan being for a 50/50 blend. The production would have created double the fuel needed for the airline’s operation at London City airport.
The airline said the other stumbling block to the project had been a lack of government help. BA has called for jet biofuels to be brought under the UK government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation. The Obligation is imposed on suppliers of transport and mobile machinery fuel to obtain a percentage from renewable resources, but it does not apply to the aviation sector.
“The other factor was the lack of policy support in the UK,” the BA spokeswoman said. “Road transport gets incentives, but aviation does not.”