Plans for the development on Teesside of a huge waste to sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) project by the Saudi Arabian business ‘alfanar’ have moved forward.
Last year the company secured support from the UK government worth £2.4 million under the green fuels Lighthouse project for its proposed plant in north east England.
Alfanar has plans for a £1 billion Teesside sustainable aviation fuels plant taking in one million tonnes of waste a year. The technology to be used is described as an “innovative waste-to-liquid (WtL) process utilising gasification and Fischer-Tropsch technology to convert household and commercial waste, otherwise destined for landfill or incineration, into approximately 180 MM litres of SAF and naphtha”.
SAF is becoming important within the airline industry as governments, which includes the European Union, are setting targets for the use of SAF in aircraft fuels to reduce the carbon emissions from aircraft.
There is competition to be the front-runners for such projects and earlier this Summer alfanar announced that its Teesside SAF plant had entered the Front-End Engineering and Design stage which could see it producing “green fuel” by 2027.
However, to help ensure the viability of the plant, alfanar said it was calling on the UK government to introduce a “price stability mechanism for early SAF projects”.
Contractor for the FEED phase is Worley and the company said of the appointment: “this milestone makes the project the most advanced SAF facility in the UK today, and is due online in 2027.”
The plant is to be built in Teesside’s net zero industrial cluster and, claimed alfanar, has the potential to utilise the East Coast Cluster’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure, due to be available from the mid-2020s, to further reduce the SAF’s carbon intensity.
alfanar has also said that it is “actively evaluating other UK sites for its second and third SAF plants to be built by 2030 and 2035 respectively, and plans to develop further green projects in the UK and beyond utilising CCS and hydrogen infrastructure”.
Mishal Almutlaq, chief investment officer of alfanar said:“With the third largest aviation network in the world, and with one of the world’s largest potential offshore CO2 stores, the UK has the industrial and geological advantages to become a global leader in developing green aviation fuel with the lowest possible emissions using CCS technology. That is why we want to build our first ever SAF plant in the UK by 2027 and two further plants by 2035.
Mr Almutlaq continued: “To deliver net zero aviation, the Government has already established the Jet Zero Council, has announced grant funding for SAF projects, and is consulting on a Jet Zero Strategy. To continue this leadership, and to enable alfanar’s first SAF project and other similar early projects to progress, price certainty is also needed. We are therefore today calling on the UK Government to progress the SAF mandate and introduce a price stabilisation mechanism such as a Contract for Difference for SAF.”
Aviation Minister Robert Courts MP said: “Aviation will be central to our future growth, so it’s essential we deliver greener flying. Thanks to alfanar’s investment the UK could be producing cleaner fuel in a few years, not only making us more sustainable, but also creating more jobs and strengthening our economy.”
Mayor of Tees Valley Ben Houchen said: “Whether it be in hydrogen, CCUS, offshore wind or sustainable aviation fuel, Teesside has established itself as a global centre for developing the green technologies that will mean we can achieve our ambitious net zero targets.”
Mayor Houchen continued: “This milestone by alfanar is another first, and further strengthens our region’s position as the number one place to develop new clean energy tech. alfanar’s sustainable aviation fuel plant will create 700 good-quality well paid jobs during construction and 240 full time roles when operational, fuelling our economy whilst reducing the emissions from a huge number of flights.”