British Airways will become the first airline in the world to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced on a commercial scale in the UK after signing a multi-year agreement with Phillips 66 Limited.
Thousands of tonnes of SAF will be produced for the first time in the UK at the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery near Immingham and will be supplied to British Airways to power a number of its flights from early 2022.
SAF is a lower carbon-intensity fuel that can be produced from renewable feedstocks such as waste vegetable oils, fats and greases.
It is a drop-in fuel when either blended with traditional jet fuel or co-processed alongside traditional refinery feedstocks, meaning it can be used in existing aircraft engines and airport fuel infrastructure, reducing lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 80% compared with traditional fossil fuels.
The supply agreement between British Airways and Phillips 66 Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company Phillips 66, advances both companies’ commitments to a lower-carbon future.
The development of sustainable aviation fuel is a major focus for us and forms part of our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a series of short-, medium- and long-term initiatives
The airline, which is striving to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, will purchase enough sustainable fuel to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by almost 100,000 tonnes, the equivalent of powering 700 net zero CO2 emissions flights between London and New York on its fuel-efficient Boeing 787 aircraft.
The SAF will be produced from sustainable waste feedstock at the Humber Refinery, which will deliver its SAF supply to British Airways via existing pipeline infrastructure that feeds directly into UK airports.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “This agreement marks another important step on our journey to net zero carbon emissions and forms part of our commitment, as part of International Airlines Group, to power 10% of flights with SAF by 2030.
“The UK has the resources and capabilities to be a global leader in the development of SAF and scaling up the production of SAF requires a truly collaborative approach between industry and government.
“We are excited to develop our relationship with Phillips 66 Limited further with a view to growing production capacity and using a wider range of sustainable waste feedstocks to supply our future flights.
“The development of sustainable aviation fuel is a major focus for us and forms part of our commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 through a series of short-, medium- and long-term initiatives.”
The airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), is investing $400 million over the next 20 years into the development of SAF and British Airways has existing partnerships with a number of technology and fuel companies to develop SAF plants and purchase the fuel.
SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by over 80% compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces.
Humber Refinery General Manager Darren Cunningham, the Lead Executive for Phillips 66 in the UK, said the announcement reflects the importance the aviation and energy industries are placing on sustainability and the continued development, adoption and scaling up of sustainable aviation fuel.
“The Humber Refinery was the first in the UK to co-process waste oils to produce renewable fuels and now we will be the first to produce SAF at scale, and we are delighted British Airways is our first UK customer,” Cunningham said.
We’re currently refining almost half a million litres of sustainable waste feedstocks a day, and this is just a start. Markets for lower-carbon products are growing, and this agreement demonstrates our ability to supply them
“We’re currently refining almost half a million litres of sustainable waste feedstocks a day, and this is just a start. Markets for lower-carbon products are growing, and this agreement demonstrates our ability to supply them.”
Last year Phillips 66 Limited invested significantly to expand its production of fuels from waste feedstocks. The investment is part of a broader energy transition plan to reduce the carbon intensity of its refinery operations and products that support 1,000 Humber Refinery jobs.
“This agreement with British Airways aligns with our strategy to create a refinery of the future, where we’re producing fuels from waste, being a critical part of the electric vehicle supply chain, reducing the carbon intensity of our processes through carbon capture and using hydrogen to power the refinery,” Cunningham said.
“It secures long-term business in an ever-changing world.”