Airline to invest in creation of pioneering sustainable aviation fuel plant
Leeds-headquartered leisure travel group, Jet2, is to make a major investment into a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production plant to be built in the North West.
In one of the first such deals in UK aviation, the site will be built at the Fulcrum NorthPoint facility, being developed by Fulcrum BioEnergy, a Waste-to-Fuels plant located at the Essar Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
Production of SAF is expected to begin at the plant in 2027, and when at full capacity 600,000 tonnes of non-recyclable household waste, which would otherwise have been destined for incineration or landfill, will be converted into around 100 million litres of SAF annually.
The NorthPoint plant will use Fulcrum’s proven waste-to-fuel process and will directly benefit from the IP gained from operations of its pioneering first commercial scale waste-to-fuels facility, Sierra BioFuels, situated outside of Reno Nevada, in the United States.
The agreement will see Jet2, which encompasses the leisure airline Jet2.com, and Jet2holidays, the UK’s largest tour operator, invest an equity stake in the plant and expect to receive more than 200 million litres of SAF over a 15-year period, which would be one of the longest SAF supply agreements currently.
Jet2.com will receive a significant volume of SAF produced at the plant once in operation. The SAF is expected to achieve net emissions reductions totalling around 400,000 tonnes of CO2 for Jet2.com over the 15 year period of the agreement.
The strategic positioning of the plant means that SAF is expected to be delivered directly to Manchester Airport using the existing jet fuel pipework infrastructure, rather than having to rely on transporting the fuel by the road network.
SAF is widely recognised as the best way to decarbonise aviation in the medium to long term. The Transport Select Committee recently stated: “Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are the most viable option for the immediate reduction of aviation emissions.”
The SAF produced at the NorthPoint site is expected to achieve life cycle emissions reductions of approximately 70% when compared with conventional aviation fuel, with the future potential to be fully carbon neutral.
Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Travel and tourism is a force for good and, like all industries, we know how critical it is to mitigate our climate impacts.
“This significant investment into Fulcrum NorthPoint’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel production in the UK shows not only how seriously we take that responsibility, but also how committed we are to taking tangible actions to address it.
“Not only will this action help to lower our climate impacts, but it represents a major step forward in our transition to net zero, too. Whether investing in SAF, spending billions on our aircraft fleet, or placing a price on every tonne of carbon we emit, we are putting sustainable travel at the heart of our business.”
He added: “This type of investment is critical if we are to get this technology up to the scale required to decarbonise the industry. Our investment is a very clear demonstration that we are backing SAF and the UK production of SAF early.
“We are calling on the UK Government to scale up its level of ambition and support for SAF production, too. Doing this will help achieve decarbonisation of the aviation sector, stimulate uptake and seize the enormous economic opportunity here in the UK.”
Jeff Ovens, managing director at Fulcrum BioEnergy UK, said: “This strategic, project level investment by Jet2 plc demonstrates clear commitment to the development of a UK SAF industry and further underpins Fulcrum’s leading position in the global waste-to-SAF industry.
“Fulcrum values this new partnership with Jet2, and we look forward to working together to successfully develop Fulcrum NorthPoint and bring low carbon jet fuel to Jet2’s increasingly fuel-efficient aircraft fleet.”