British Airways has signed a new deal to “accelerate” its Project Speedbird project to develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for commercial use in the UK.
The airline originally teamed up with sustainable fuel specialists LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies on Project Speedbird in 2021. BA’s parent company IAG is now supporting the next phase of development of the production site following the completion of the initial feasibility study.
Project Speedbird would turn agricultural and wood waste into 102 million litres of SAF per year. Construction on the site in north-east England could start as early as next year with SAF being produced from 2026.
British Airways plans to use all SAF produced through Project Speedbird to help power some of its flights. The SAF created from the site would reduce CO2 emissions by 230,000 tonnes a year – equivalent to the emissions from around 26,000 domestic flights.
Project Speedbird has now applied for more funding from the Department for Transport’s (DFT) Advanced Fuels Fund, which will be “key” to its continued development.
The UK government plans to implement a mandate requiring at least 10 per cent of UK jet fuel to be SAF by 2030.
Carrie Harris, director of sustainability at British Airways, said: “SAF is in high demand but in short supply across the globe and so it is essential that we scale up its production as quickly as possible.
“With further investment and continued government support, Speedbird will be a key and pioneering project in the production of SAF here in the UK.”
Sarah Ellerby, CEO at Nova Pangaea Technologies, added that the support from BA for the project was a “vote of huge confidence in our technology and will accelerate its commercialisation”.
Jimmy Samartzis, CEO at LanzaJet, said: “The UK is a critical market in the decarbonisation of the aviation industry, and this partnership brings together the full value chain from agricultural and wood waste to finished sustainable aviation fuel and use by British Airways.”
Last week, British Airways launched a new tool allowing corporates to measure, manage and reduce their carbon emissions from flights.