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British Airways challenges UK universities to develop a new generation of sustainable aviation fuel; part of $400M investment from parent

As British Airways looks towards its Centenary next year, the airline, in collaboration with Cranfield University, has challenged academics from across the UK to develop a sustainable alternative fuel which could power a commercial aircraft on a long-haul flight, carrying up to 300 customers with zero net emissions.

This marks the first time the industry has tasked experts in the fields of aerospace and fuels to work together to create a solution to this key environmental issue.

The team which wins the “BA 2119: Future of Fuels Challenge” will receive £25,000 (US$31,900) to help fund further research and a commitment from the airline to work alongside them to incubate their idea. The winners will also be invited to present their pathway at sustainability events in Miami and Montreal, as well as to the executive team at British Airways and IAG, the airline’s parent company. The runners up will also receive cash sums.

Nominations will be judged by a panel of industry experts based on the idea’s carbon reduction potential, as well as its innovation, value to the UK economy and feasibility to implement.

The award is part of a commitment from IAG (International Airlines Group), British Airway’s parent group, to invest a total of $400 million in sustainable fuel development and long-term supply agreements. This includes an existing partnership with renewal fuels company, Velocys, to build a plant to convert household waste into sustainable fuels—the first time an airline has done this in Europe.

The challenge is being launched as part of British Airways’ Centenary celebrations. Alongside exploring the future of fuels, the airline will also be investigating the future of aviation careers and using futurologists to predict the future of the flying experience. This will be alongside other key announcements, including the introduction of the A350 to the fleet and a new business class seat—both part of the airline’s £6.5-billion investment plan over five years.



The trend is there, Branson started it with renewable jet fuel, others follow.


We don't need higher priced fuels paid by tax-payers. What we need is more high-end petrol extraction technologies. Try to efficiently extract crude oil from the tar sands in canada with better method and refine this crude on place and reach all the canadian market and the port of Vancouver. Actually canada lose money with these awful policies concerning tar sands.


What we don't need is to continue to use fuel that is burned in the air unless it produces only H2O and no smog or GHG. That would be hydrogen. Jet propulsion is an obsolete technology as is the pollution industries that produce the fuel used in jet engines. We must work hard to stop polluting the Earth with internal combustion engines, including jet engines.


Jets will be with us for many decades, they are not going to be battery powered. Get real and get with the program.


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