Project Speedbird, UK


British Airways Betterworld Aircraft being fuelled with SAF

Project Speedbird

Sponsors: British Airways, LanzaJet, Nova Pangaea
Feedstock: Agricultural and wood waste
Process: Alcohol-to-jet (ATJ)
Location: Northeast England, UK

Announced: 2021
Construction start: 2023+
Target: 2025 – 100m litres per year


October 2021: UK Department of Transport’s Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) £484,000 feasibility funding
December 2022: British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangaea apply for UK Advanced Fuel Fund Grant

Project Speedbird aims to be the UK’s first forestry waste to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) project. It is a consortium of British Airways, LanzaJet and Nova Pangae Technologies

The technology is based on Nova Pangaea’s REFNOVA® process of converting waste wood into alcohol and LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology. British Airways plans to use all of the SAF that is produced.

In November 2022 Sarah Ellerby, CEO at Nova Pangaea Technologies, said:

“This project will deliver the first end-to-end, sustainable value chain from agricultural and wood waste to SAF in the UK. It will undoubtedly play a very important role in the growing momentum towards decarbonising our aviation sector. The support from British Airways is a vote of huge confidence in our technology and will accelerate its commercialisation. In July, the UK Government announced its Jet Zero strategy signalling a SAF mandate of 10% of all UK flights to run on SAF by 2030. This agreement is another significant step towards meeting this mandate in the UK. Our aim is to help the UK become a global leader in the end-to-end SAF market, with consequent benefits to employment and business activity.”

In November 2022 Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, said:  

“Project Speedbird is another great step towards our mission to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner and achieve our target of using SAF for 10% of our fuel by 2030. SAF is in high demand but in short supply across the globe and so it is essential that we scale up its production as quickly as possible. With further investment and continued government support, Speedbird will be a key and pioneering project in the production of SAF here in the UK. The biochar carbon removal opportunities are another important aspect of this impressive innovative project that can contribute to our net zero action. We are delighted to be a part of this important project, illustrating how we’re putting sustainability at the heart of our business with our BA Better World sustainability programme.” 

In November 2022 Jimmy Samartzis, CEO at LanzaJet, said:

“The U.K. is a critical market in the decarbonization of the aviation industry, and this partnership brings together the full value chain from agricultural and wood waste to finished Sustainable Aviation Fuel and use by British Airways. As the U.K. sits at an inflection point in its quest to decarbonize, Project Speedbird represents historical significance with an eye toward the future. This is about impact – on the economy, on energy security, and on climate. We appreciate the DfT’s support as we scale-up, continue to improve capital and process efficiency, and enable production and use of SAF at a time when immediate action is needed.”



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