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Altalto waste-to-jet fuel plant advances in UK; BA, Shell, Velocys

Altalto Immingham Limited, a subsidiary of renewable fuels company Velocys and a collaboration with British Airways and Shell, has submitted a planning application to develop its site in Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, close to the Humber Estuary.

Velocys is leading the development of the project and has assembled all the technology components into a standardized integrated design. Velocys also supplies the central processing unit: micro-Channel Fischer-Tropsch reactors with the proprietary Velocys Actocat catalyst.

The proposed plant would take more than 500,000 tonnes each year of non-recyclable everyday household and commercial solid waste destined for landfill or incineration such as meal packaging, diapers and takeaway coffee cups and convert it into more than 60 million liters (15.85 million gallons US) of cleaner-burning sustainable jet and road fuel each year.

The technology, built by Velocys, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% for every tonne of sustainable jet fuel that replaces a tonne of conventional fossil fuel—equivalent to taking up to 40,000 cars per year off the road.

Subject to planning and funding decisions, the plant is due to begin construction in 2021 and to start producing commercial volumes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in 2024.

British Airways intends to purchase jet fuel produced at the plant for use in its aircraft. This is an important step in the reduction of the airline’s carbon emissions towards the industry targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels.

The fuel will also improve air quality with up to 90% reduction in soot from aircraft engine exhausts and almost 100% reduction in sulfur oxides; and the technology offers a lower emissions route to process UK waste than incineration or landfill.

British Airways’ collaboration with Velocys was first announced in September 2017 and is part of the airline’s plans to develop long-term, sustainable fuel options and find solutions to help reduce aviation emissions, which contribute two per cent of CO2 emissions globally.

As part of its centenary celebrations, British Airways, in collaboration with Cranfield University, challenged academics from across the UK to develop a sustainable alternative fuel that could power a commercial aircraft on a long-haul flight, carrying up to 300 customers with zero net emissions.

University College of London students were crowned as the winners of its BA 2119: Future of Fuels challenge. The team received £25,000 to develop their idea further and will present at the IATA Alternative Fuels Symposium in New Orleans in November.



As oil gets less available and more expensive,
we will be glad we did this.


Let's see...

500,000 tpy in, 60 million liters/yr out.  At a density of perhaps 0.8, 60 million liters is 48 million kg, 48000 metric tons.

Less than 10% of the waste stream is converted to product.  More than 90% is going to be converted to other waste, like CO2 emissions (or optimistically, water vapor).  This looks like a good way to get rid of lots of MSW, but a poor way of replacing petroleum; you will run out of MSW long before you meet demand.


will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% for every tonne of sustainable jet fuel that replaces ...

Saying it will not replace ALL fossil fuels so forget it misses the point.


Altalto handles the waste-to-fuel by gasifying it but doesn't describe the process.  This almost certainly means autothermal gasification, using some (most?) of the chemical energy of the waste to break it down.  There is no declared provision to use or sequester the CO2 created in this step; it's just lost to the process and no doubt stuck back in the atmosphere.

Powering the gasification with something like electric arcs would eliminate the combustion and leave much more of the carbon in reduced, usable forms (CO and CH4).


If this can provide 10% of the aviation fuel, it could be worth while.
FT requires heat, the feed stock is not consistent here, but we most certainly have lots of landfill over the decades.

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