Bristol company hoping to launch ground-breaking sustainable aviation fuel

A Bristol company has announced significant progress has been made towards commercialisation of its ground-breaking sustainable aviation fuel.

Firefly, which has developed a process to convert processed human sewage into fuel, have secured a raft of agreements signed with key industrial partners including Haltermann Carless, Petrofac, Chevron Lummus Global (CLG) and Anglian Water.

Haltermann Carless, a global leader in sustainable hydrocarbon production, is the owner of a specialist refinery site in Harwich where Firefly will soon build a pilot facility, followed by a planned commercial-scale plant.

The company has also announced a partnership with Chevron Lumus Global (CLG), a leading technology provider in the renewable transportation fuels industry.

CLG will provide bespoke refinery infrastructure, designed to optimize efficiency and flexibility while minimizing emissions for Firefly’s commercial-scale plant.

A further agreement has been reached with utility company Anglian Water which has committed to provide Firefly with the waste that will be used as feedstock for the planned pilot facility.

“The signing of these agreements marks a significant leap forward in realising our ambitions to develop a sustainable SAF industry here in the UK,” said James Hygate, Firefly’s chief executive.

“Opening up this new sewage pathway will bring new jobs and growth to the UK, helping us to secure a greener and more prosperous future.”

Firefly’s leadership team have been working at pace to bring this novel SAF pathway online in the UK, ahead of further planned expansion into global markets.

Independent analysis by Cranfield University has shown that Firefly’s SAF offers a highly significant 92% CO2e saving versus fossil jet fuel.

Recognising this huge carbon saving potential, ultra low-cost airline Wizz Air signed a significant offtake agreement with Firefly in 2023, carrying a value of almost $1billion across 15 years.

Yvonne Moynihan, corporate and ESG Officer at Wizz Air, said: “Being the leading airline in Europe for environmental sustainability on a per passenger basis, we hold SAF as a core component to our sustainability strategy. It’s a subject that we, as a business, are deeply passionate about. Our strategic vision is long-term, and we take pride in being at the forefront of reducing emissions intensity globally.

“Since 2023, Wizz Air has actively supported Firefly fuels through investment, and we are optimistic that this partnership will drive progress within the industry, bringing us closer to affordable and accessible SAF options for all. We are convinced that industry collaboration in the development of alternative fuels is a crucial step in addressing the climate crisis. Our unwavering dedication remains focused on reducing our carbon intensity by 25% by 2030.”

Firefly’s novel route to SAF utilises a difficult to dispose, abundant waste feedstock – sewage sludge.

Processed human sewage is a globally available resource that carries tremendous potential to support the decarbonisation efforts of aviation.

Firefly will break ground on their pilot facility in the coming months and plan to be in commercial operation by the end of the decade.