Story at a glance

  • British Airways will start fueling its' planes with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) beginning next year.
  • SAF is made from vegetable oils, fats and greases.
  • The airline said by switching to SAF, carbon emissions can be reduced by over 80 percent in comparison to traditional jet fuel.

British Airways will start fueling its planes with cooking oil as a way to curb the airline industry’s environmental footprint. 

The airline announced it will use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a low carbon intensity fuel that’s derived from vegetable oils, fats and greases, beginning next year. The company said moving to SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by over 80 percent compared to traditional jet fuel. 

British Airways signed a multi-year contract with Phillips 66 Limited, an energy manufacturing company, making Phillips the first company to produce SAF at a commercial scale in the U.K.  

The move reflects British Airways’ goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and expects to purchase enough sustainable fuel to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by almost 100,000 tons. The company said that’s equivalent to powering 700 net zero carbon emissions flights between London and New York on a fuel-efficient Boeing 787 airplane.


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“This agreement marks another important step on our journey to net zero carbon emissions and forms part of our commitment, as part of International Airlines Group, to power 10 percent of flights with SAF by 2030,” said Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO.

British Airways isn’t the only airline jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, as Southwest Airlines is also partnering with Phillips 66. Back in April the Dallas-based airliner signed a “memorandum of understanding” that intends to push for the commercialization of SAF, focusing on public awareness, research and development. 

The agreement also includes a framework to explore a future supply agreement between Southwest and Phillips 66’s Rodeo Renewed project, an initiative that hopes to produce 800 million gallons of renewable diesel, renewable gasoline and SAF, per year in California.

The Rodeo Renewed project has not yet been approved, but Phillips 66 hopes to begin production in early 2024.

Moving away from traditional jet fuel is significant, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that in 2019 emissions from the transportation sector accounted for 29 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions. 

When looking at emissions by source, in 2019 aircraft accounted for 10 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.


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Published on Dec 04, 2021