Call to switch EfW plants to produce air fuel
Energy-from-waste (EfW) plants could be switched to making sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) rather than electricity, a Government report has said.
The report by Philip New, former chief executive of the Energy Systems Catapult, said the UK had the potential to play a leading role in the development of environmentally friendly aircraft fuels.
New said this particularly applied to SAF made from carbon-containing waste streams, which he called “a technology close to deployment readiness”.
He added: “The enthusiasm for SAF extends across the stakeholder community to an extent not seen by the author in other aspects of the energy transition. It offers a clear opportunity for leverage that should not be wasted.”
He said waste and other biogenic feedstocks should be used first in sectors such as aviation where carbon reduction was difficult rather than be burnt to generate “relatively high-carbon” electricity.
He said: “Any review should address the question of the role of EfW in a future net-zero grid, particularly when carbon capture and storage capacity is not close to EfW assets.”
New noted the availability of former chemical processing plants that could be repurposed for SAF manufacture, which were often in areas of significant economic decline such as Tyne/Tees/Humber, Stanlow and south Wales.
Last week, transport secretary Mark Harper launched an action plan for the next two years to reach ‘jet zero’ by 2050 by speeding up the design, manufacture and rollout of zero-emission aircraft and infrastructure at UK airports.
The Government is to “invest millions of pounds in first-of-a-kind SAF plants, supporting crucial scientific research on a larger scale and helping to drive down production costs”, he said.