Project Speedbird, a partnership between British Airways and Nova Pangaea Tech, has secured a total of £9 million from the government’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF) competition.
It follows multi-million pound investment from International Airlines Group (IAG) and British Airways into the project.
Nova Pangaea Tech, which develops advanced biofuels used to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), was awarded £7.5 million as part of the partnership, and LanzaJet which turns ethanol into SAF received £1.5 million.
The technology from NPT will convert agricultural waste into biofuels like ethanol, which Lanzajet will use to produce SAF.
The funding aims to help produce SAF and make aviation less carbon intensive, with Project Speedbird anticipated to produce 102 million litres of SAF each year, which British Airways says is the equivalent of reducing CO2 emissions by 230,000 tonnes a year (and the equivalent of 26,000) British Airways flights.
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By 2028, the project will produce SAF at full capacity, which British Airways says will support the UK’s mandate that by 2030 at least 10% of jet fuel used by airlines is made from sustainable feedstocks.
Some scientists have criticised the UK decision to prioritise SAF due to the amount of land that would need to be used to produce it, and have said it should not be considered an alternative that can support current levels of flying.
“Sustainable aviation fuel will play a critical role in meeting our net zero targets and is currently the only realistic low carbon solution for long-haul flights, so it is vital that we continue to invest and develop SAF technology in order to create enough supply,” said British Airways director of sustainability Carrie Harris.
“We welcome the government’s investment and continued support in Project Speedbird which represents landmark new technology for UK SAF supply,” she continued, adding that the UK has “the potential” to become a leader in SAF.
LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis added: “The aviation industry has set ambitious and necessary targets to address the urgency of climate change, and this next generation