BA will build the GreenSky London fuel facility, in partnership with Solena Fuels, at the Thames Enterprise Park, part of the former Coryton oil refinery site in Thurrock, Essex.
Construction is due to start in the next 12 months and be completed in 2017.
The hope is that the project will revolutionise the production of sustainable aviation fuel. Approximately 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration, will instead be converted into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels using Solena’s technology. British Airways has made a long-term commitment to purchase all 50,000 tonnes a year of the jet fuel produced at market competitive rates.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said: “The construction of the GreenSky London fuel facility at Thames Enterprise Park will lay the foundations for British Airways to reduce its carbon emissions significantly.”
Solena has been developing the project and will use its patented high-temperature plasma gasification technology to convert the waste efficiently into synthetic gas. This gas is then converted into liquid hydrocarbons using third-party technologies, including cleaning and conditioning of the gas, a Velocys Fischer-Tropsch conversion process, hydrocracking and electric power production. With the initial engineering design completed, Solena and its partners are now starting the next phase of engineering of the GreenSky London facility.
The assets of the former Petroplus Coryton Oil Refinery were acquired by a consortium comprising Vopak, Shell and Greenergy in September 2012 and rebranded as a joint venture named Thames Oilport. The joint venture proposes to develop a refurbished terminal for the bulk importation and blending of fuels and to redevelop the rest of the former refinery site as Thames Enterprise Park.
Andrew Owens, chief executive of Greenergy said: “This is an ideal site for a biofuel initiative like Solena’s and we are very pleased to be associated with it. It is located on the Thames with fuel storage and fuel pipelines and good road, rail and jetty infrastructure. Thames Enterprise Park’s main goal is to provide regeneration of the former Coryton oil refinery following its closure in 2012. The facility proposed by British Airways and Solena is exactly the type of high profile technology project both we and Thurrock Council want to attract to the site, particularly given the number of skilled jobs provided.”
The GreenSky project is backed by Barclays Bank. Gabriel Buck, head of CAPEX financing solutions at Barclays, said: “This is undoubtedly a unique and ground breaking project. The economic and environmental fundamentals will, we believe, be attractive to investors from both a debt and equity perspective. The project debt structure has been identified with preliminary agreements in place with an Export Credit Agency who are not only providing the guarantees but also the funding. We are now focused with the project team on getting all aspects of the funding structure completed.”