- British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies have signed an agreement that will accelerate Project Speedbird, an initiative created by the companies in 2021 to develop cost-effective sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for commercial use in the UK.
- Project Speedbird can transform agricultural and wood waste taken from sustainable sources into 102 million litres of SAF per year and British Airways intends to offtake all SAF produced at the facility to help power some of its flights.
- The SAF produced at the facility would reduce CO2 emissions, on a net lifecycle basis, by 230,000 tonnes a year. This is the equivalent emissions of approximately 26,000 British Airways domestic flights.* Overall, Project Speedbird has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 770,000 tonnes a year**
- Project Speedbird has now applied for the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Advanced Fuels Fund grant for additional funding, which will be key to the project’s continued development.
WEDNESDAY, 2ND NOVEMBER 2022: British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea Technologies have signed an agreement that will accelerate their ground-breaking Project Speedbird initiative to develop cost-effective sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for commercial use in the UK. As part of the agreement, British Airways’ parent company IAG, is investing in the project to support the next phase of development work that will help decarbonise the aviation industry.
Project Speedbird was initially launched by the three companies in 2021 and was granted nearly £500,000 by the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Green Fuels, Green Skies competition to fund an initial feasibility study for the early-stage development of the project. This work is now complete and so the next stage of development can begin. Once in operation, it would be the UK’s first SAF facility utilising agricultural and wood waste taken from sustainable sources.
Project Speedbird has now applied for the DfT’s Advanced Fuels Fund grant for additional funding, which will be key to the project’s continued development whilst the DfT seeks to roll out its recently announced Jet Zero strategy that includes implementing a SAF mandate to come into force in 2025, which will require at least 10% of UK jet fuel to be SAF by 2030.
Project Speedbird would transform agricultural and wood waste taken from sustainable sources into 102 million litres of SAF per year. Construction could begin as early as 2023 and the facility, which is planned to be built in North East England, is expected to be producing SAF by 2026. British Airways intends to offtake all SAF produced through Project Speedbird to help power some of its flights. The SAF produced would reduce CO2 emissions, on a net lifecycle basis, by 230,000 tonnes a year. This is the equivalent emissions of approximately 26,000 British Airways domestic flights.* Overall, Project Speedbird has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 770,000 tonnes a year** as the combined processes also produce renewable diesel and a material called biochar – a carbon-rich charcoal-like material left over after the agricultural and wood wastes have been processed. Biochar is a natural carbon removal method.
The SAF will be developed using a combination of leading-edge technologies based on Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA® process of converting agricultural and wood waste into bioethanol and biochar. LanzaJet’s proprietary and patented alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology, the first of its kind in the world, then converts the bioethanol to produce SAF and renewable diesel.
Project Speedbird would provide significant skilled employment with the generation of hundreds of jobs and supply chain opportunities in the North East of England and help spread the benefits of investment in green technologies across the UK. It would also bolster the UK’s energy security as the facility would boost domestic production.
Sarah Ellerby, CEO at Nova Pangaea Technologies, said:
“This project will deliver the first end-to-end, sustainable value chain from agricultural and wood waste to SAF in the UK. It will undoubtedly play a very important role in the growing momentum towards decarbonising our aviation sector. The support from British Airways is a vote of huge confidence in our technology and will accelerate its commercialisation. In July, the UK Government announced its Jet Zero strategy signalling a SAF mandate of 10% of all UK flights to run on SAF by 2030. This agreement is another significant step towards meeting this mandate in the UK. Our aim is to help the UK become a global leader in the end-to-end SAF market, with consequent benefits to employment and business activity.”
Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, said:
“Project Speedbird is another great step towards our mission to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner and achieve our target of using SAF for 10% of our fuel by 2030. 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. The biochar carbon removal opportunities are another important aspect of this impressive innovative project that can contribute to our net zero action. We are delighted to be a part of this important project, illustrating how we’re putting sustainability at the heart of our business with our BA Better World sustainability programme.”
Jimmy Samartzis, CEO at LanzaJet, said:
“The U.K. is a critical market in the decarbonization 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. As the U.K. sits at an inflection point in its quest to decarbonize, Project Speedbird represents historical significance with an eye toward the future. This is about impact – on the economy, on energy security, and on climate. We appreciate the DfT’s support as we scale-up, continue to improve capital and process efficiency, and enable production and use of SAF at a time when immediate action is needed.”
*Based on the calculated average UK domestic route from 2019 data.
**This figure includes CO2 emission reductions from the production of SAF, renewable diesel and biochar.
Notes to editors
About Nova Pangaea Technologies
Nova Pangaea was created to convert agricultural and wood waste into high value sustainable products, such as advanced biofuels, biocarbons and biochemicals, through the Company’s proprietary patented process called REFNOVA®. The feedstock will come from independently verified, sustainable sources. Waste wood will come from UK sawmills where wastes include sawdust and other wood trimmings not suitable for timber production. In addition, the project will use waste wood from end-of-life furniture and construction waste. Agricultural waste includes rice straw, wheat straw, rice husk and corn stover, which are mostly left on the fields after harvests and used for reasons including for fodder or landfill material. Nova Pangaea Technologies is considering other kinds of agricultural wastes that can be sustainably sourced.
The REFNOVA process enables their customers to transform these residues into two products that enable decarbonisation and net zero: NOVASUGARS® and NOVACHAR™.
NOVASUGARS® can be fermented into bioethanol that is used as a drop-in for sustainable aviation fuels, catalysing the decarbonisation of the aviation industry. NPT is a key partner, along with British Airways and US-based LanzaJet, in the ground-breaking Project Speedbird. The project is focused on the development and delivery of 102 million litres of SAF per year along with 11 million litres of renewable diesel. British Airways intends to use the SAF through the construction of the equivalent of 12 REFNOVA plants in the UK.
NOVACHAR® has numerous carbon negative and carbon neutral applications, but the Nova Pangaea team focus on two applications. Firstly, biochar can be used to amend and restore impoverished soils by better retaining nutrients required for plants to grow, and by filtering healthy water for accelerated crop growth, delivering a circular economy for the agricultural industry. Biochar can replace fertilisers that use fossil fuels as their feedstock and removes carbon from the atmosphere generating high-integrity carbon credits and carbon negative process. Secondly, iron ore, the key ingredient to produce steel, can be made by using biochar instead of coal therefore reducing emissions by up to 100% in the steel production industry to create green steel.
Based at Wilton International, Redcar, NPT have a pre-commercial plant which will be in commercial production in 2023 and are actively pursuing commercial opportunities with a number of international partners.
About British Airways
British Airways was part of the first airline group in the world to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The airline is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions through a series of short, medium- and long-term initiatives. In the short-term this includes improving operational efficiency, introducing new fuel efficient aircraft, funding carbon offset projects to mitigate emissions on UK domestic flights and progressively introducing sustainable aviation fuels using waste feedstocks, while in the medium to longer term this includes continuing to invest in the development and scale up of sustainable aviation fuel and looking at accelerating the growth of new technologies such as zero emissions hydrogen-powered aircraft and carbon capture technology.
- More detail on British Airways’ partnerships to develop sustainable aviation fuel which have received Government funding can be found here.
- More details on British Airways’ sustainability programme, BA Better World can be found here
- More details on the airline’s partnership with LanzaJet to develop and offtake SAF can be found here.
LanzaJet is a leading sustainable fuels technology company dedicated to accelerating the energy transition by embracing the circular economy. As a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) technology provider and producer with patented alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology, LanzaJet is creating an opportunity for future generations by accelerating the deployment of SAF and other clean technologies critical to addressing the climate crisis and transforming the global economy. Further information is available at https://www.lanzajet.com/.
Click here to watch our announcement on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7AfEfh8YTQ
Nova Pangaea Technologies
Sarah Ellerby, CEO
Nick Elwes, Charles Baister (Tavistock)
+44 (0) 20 7920 3150
+011 313 300 09432