British Airways is planning to break new ground by running flights powered by rubbish. The airline is hoping to change the face of travel and improve its carbon footprint by running flights powered by landfill waste.
The company has announced that it is partnering with Solena Fuels to build a specialised facility that will convert rubbish into airline fuel – the first of its kind in the world. Due for completion in 2017, the plant will create up to 150 permanent jobs on top of the 1,000 workers who will be required to build the site itself.
As many as 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste will be transformed into 120,000 tonnes of clean-burning liquid fuel, British Airways has said.
Not only will this mean a significant reduction in the waste being sent to landfill, but it will also reduce the environmental impact of the national carrier’s flights. Significantly, the airline has promised to buy all the fuel produced at the facility at a market-competitive rate.
“We are always striving to reduce our impact on climate change and this first-of-its-kind project marks a significant step for the aviation industry,” said Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG.
“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. The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road.”
Climate change has been on everyone’s minds since the latest report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change on the subject was published. At a time when sustainability and green initiatives are arguably gaining more traction than ever, British Airways is demonstrating that it is part of a growing trend to limit the environmental impact of its operations.
However, it is also a significant investment in green technology that could encourage other firms to follow suit. The government says that 177 million tonnes of waste are produced in England alone each year, a drop in the ocean of global waste output. After all, rubbish is one fuel source which is definitely not running out.
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