Air Liquide wins contract for Teesside waste-to-jet-fuel plant

Article by Adam Duckett

AIR LIQUIDE has been awarded a contract to help build a £1.5bn (US$1.9bn) plant in Teesside, UK that will convert household waste into jet fuel.

The plant is being built by Saudi Arabian industrial conglomerate Alfanar and is scheduled to begin operations in 2028, producing around 125,000 t/y of aviation fuel. Air Liquide Engineering & Construction will provide the licence, basic engineering and front-end engineering and design for the new plant’s syngas cleaning, hydrogen purification and carbon capture technologies.

In May, Alfanar signed a partnership with N+P Group to source 1m t/y of non-recyclable waste destined for landfill and build three plants that will instead convert it into pellets that will become the feedstock for the Teesside facility, known as the Lighthouse Green Fuels project.

The plant will use gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technologies to convert the waste pellets into syngas and convert it into liquid fuel that can be blended with conventional jet fuel.

In November, the company was awarded £8.6m from the UK government’s Advanced Fuels Fund. It was among nine projects sharing £53m that the government is providing to help kickstart sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production. It wants at least five commercial-scale SAF plants under construction by 2025 and has set a mandate requiring at least 10% of jet fuel to come from sustainable feedstocks by 2030.

There are doubts about the viability of meeting the target or its environmental credentials. While some feedstocks could help reduce emissions by as much as 80% compared to conventional fuels, there are concerns that the demand for biomass will force up the costs of limited supplies and lead to land use change.

The head of British Airways’ parent group IAG warned in October that there is a 90% risk that the industry will fail to meet the EU’s mandate for SAF to make up 2% of jet fuel in 2025.

Virgin Atlantic made headlines in November after completing the first long-haul flight powered entirely by SAF. It flew from London to New York using a blend of fuel made from waste fats and plant sugars.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

Recent Editions

Catch up on the latest news, views and jobs from The Chemical Engineer. Below are the four latest issues. View a wider selection of the archive from within the Magazine section of this site.