Refiner Phillips 66 has sealed a deal with British Airways to supply the airline with renewable jet fuel that will be produced at a Phillips 66 site in the UK, Bloomberg reports.
“Markets for lower-carbon products are growing, and this agreement demonstrates our ability to supply them,” said the refiner’s head of UK operations, Darren Cunningham, as quoted by Bloomberg.
The renewable fuel refinery currently produces about 132,000 gallons of product daily. British Airways will begin using Phillips 66’s fuel next year and says the fuel it is buying would reduce its carbon footprint by an amount equivalent to 700 net-zero flights from London to New York.
The air travel industry is one of the big polluters on a global scale and, unsurprisingly, the target of much pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2019, carbon dioxide emissions from the commercial aviation industry reached 918 million metric tonnes, up 29 percent from 2013.
While the industry currently accounts for a modest 2.5 percent of global emissions, this figure is expected to rise sharply in the coming decades, with emissions tripling over the next 30 years if passenger travel continues to grow at its current rate: it increased by a whopping 300 percent between 1990 and 2019.
Renewable jet fuel is one way of making aviation more sustainable emissions-wise: made from waste feedstock, such fuels emit much less greenhouse gases. However, they are also considerably more expensive than petroleum-derived jet fuel.
“We want 1 billion passengers to have flown on a SAF-blend flight by 2025,” said the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association Alexandre de Juniac in 2018. “That won’t be easy to achieve. We need governments to set a framework to incentivize production of SAF and ensure it is as attractive to produce as automotive biofuels.”