British Airways has become the first airline to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced in the UK on a commercial scale.
The carrier has taken delivery of its first batch of SAF – which has been added to pipelines providing fuel to several airports including Heathrow.
The fuel was produced at the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery in Lincolnshire.
SAF is typically produced from sustainable resources such as waste oils from agricultural residues, or non-fossil carbon dioxide.
Its production reduces carbon emissions by around 80 per cent compared with traditional jet fuel – but it is currently more expensive.
The fuel can be blended with standard aviation fuel at up to 50 per cent.
The UK’s flag-carrier has agreed to purchase enough of the fuel to reduce its lifecycle CO2 emissions by nearly 100,000 tonnes, which could power the equivalent of 700 net zero flights between London and New York.
This will benefit its environmental strategy – with the airline targeting net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and as part of the International Airlines Group, it is aiming to power 10 per cent of flights with SAF by 2039.
British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle believed the commercial scale-up of sustainable aviation fuel will be a “game changer” and “crucial to reducing the aviation sector’s reliance on fossil fuels.”
He said: “I’m confident that Britain can take a leading role on the global stage in this space, creating green jobs and export opportunities, if industry, developers and Government continue to collaborate and make it a key focus area.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: “The fact it’s being produced here in the UK is a perfect demonstration how Britain continues to be a pioneer in developing green aviation technology and the Government will meet its 2050 net zero target.”
Shapps launched the Jet Zero Council in June 2020, bringing together ministers and aviation leaders to work on reducing the sector’s carbon emissions.
The the aim is to develop zero-emission transatlantic flights “within a generation”.
Biofuels and sustainable alternatives have become increasingly popular among mass transit and commercial shipping and airline companies.
Maersk for instance has unveiled WasteFuel – a low carbon biofuel – as it pushes to reach net zero by 2040.