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Big boost for sustainable aviation fuel on Teesside as five firms win multimillion pound funding

Posted on 17 November 2023

Big boost for sustainable aviation fuel on Teesside as five firms win multimillion pound funding

Making Teesside the UK capital of creating low-carbon aviation fuel has taken a big leap forward after a major funding boost.

Almost £40million from the Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund has been awarded to five Teesside-based firms leading the way in creating Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

The total award in the latest round of the fund was £53million – with companies with operations in the region taking home 75 percent of the grant cash on offer.

Arcadia e-Fuels (£12.3million), Nova Pangaea Technologies (£9.1million), Alfanar Energy (£8.7million), Abundia Biomass-to-Liquids (£4.5million), and Willis Sustainable Fuels (£4.7million) were successful in their bids.

The region’s long-standing chemical engineering expertise has seen several firms opt to line up a base in the Tees Valley.

Making Teesside International Airport’s the UK’s first Net Zero Airport is also part of the region’s wider Net Zero Strategy with an ambition for Net Zero flights by 2035. 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Here on Teesside, we are leading the way in sustainable aviation fuel and this announcement just goes to show it with 75 percent of this fund going to local projects.

“We are committed to making aviation sustainable to secure the future of Teesside Airport and by getting ahead of the curve we can make sure we are best placed to lead the transition to SAF.

“These fantastic projects will create local jobs for local people and make our airport a key player in the industry.

“Let there be no mistake about it - we get things done and we get there first."

Willis Sustainable Fuels is one company developing plan for a multi-million-pound refinery at Dorman Point, on the Teesworks site.

It will use power-to-liquid technology to convert carbon dioxide and green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with its plant expected to be operational in 2026.

It was awarded £4,721,000 from the fund’s second round.

Welcoming the news, Austin C. Willis, CEO of Willis Lease Finance Corporation (WLFC), said: “We genuinely appreciate the UK government’s commitment to develop a robust UK SAF industry.

“We are honoured that WLFC’s pioneering Carbonshift PtL SAF project has been selected by the Department for Transport, reinforcing our potential to play a pivotal role in supporting the UK's ambitious goal of supplying 10 percent SAF by 2030."

He added: “We are strongly committed to meeting the growing demand for sustainable aviation solutions while fostering local partnerships and propelling a collective effort towards a more sustainable future for aviation on a global scale.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper added: “The investment we’re announcing today demonstrates our confidence in the UK’s SAF industry - creating jobs, encouraging overseas investment and levelling up communities across the whole country. 

“Thanks to this Government’s backing, the UK is quickly becoming a SAF superpower – ensuring people can continue to travel how they want, in a way that’s fit for the future.” 

 

Round two Teesside winners:

Abundia Biomass-to-Liquids (A-Jet UK) – Awarded £4,484,000 

Based on Teesside, the project is developing a demonstration plant that uses pyrolysis and hydrotreatment technology to convert sawmill and forestry residues into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The plant is expected to be operational in 2026 and produce 2.6kt/y of SAF when at full operational capacity. 

Alfanar Energy (Lighthouse Green Fuels) – Awarded £8,664,000 

Based in the Industrial Cluster on Teesside, the project is developing a commercial scale plant that uses gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technology to convert biogenic and non-biogenic wastes and residues into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The plant is expected to be under construction in 2025, operational in 2028, and produce 124.2kt/y of SAF when at full operational capacity. 

Arcadia e-Fuels (NABOO) – Awarded: £12,341,000 

Based on Teesside, the project is developing a commercial scale plant that uses power-to-liquid technology to convert biogenic CO2 and green hydrogen into SAF. The plant is expected to be operational in 2028 and produce 67.7kt/y of SAF when at full operational capacity.  

Nova Pangaea Technologies (Project Speedbird) – Awarded: £9,063,015 

Based in Wilton, Teesside, the project is developing a commercial scale plant that uses pyrolysis and ethanol-to-jet technology to convert agricultural and wood waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The plant is expected to be operational in 2025 and produce 2.7kt/y of SAF when at full operational capacity. 

Willis Sustainable Fuels (Carbonshift PtL) – Awarded: £4,721,000 

Based on Teesside, the project is developing a commercial scale plant that uses power-to-liquid technology to convert carbon dioxide and green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The plant is expected to be operational in 2026 and produce 14kt/y of SAF when at full operational capacity. 

Source: Tees valley Combined Authority

CONTACT: Alex Metcalfe on 07384 797817 or Ian McNeal on 07554 437890

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