British Airways could soon power planes from everyday waste

Key Points
  • The idea is to take regular household waste, such as diapers, and convert it into sustainable aviation fuel.
  • The proposed plant would be based in north east Lincolnshire, in the U.K. 
Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images

British Airways could soon be powering its planes with fuel derived from trash after plans were submitted to set up a commercial waste to jet fuel plant in the U.K.

The idea is to take regular household waste, such as diapers and takeaway coffee cups, and convert it into sustainable aviation fuel. In an announcement Tuesday, British Airways said that the plant would take more than 500,000 tons of non-recyclable household waste annually.

The airline added that the system would cut "greenhouse gas emissions by 70% for every tonne of sustainable jet fuel that replaces a tonne of conventional fossil fuel."

The plans for the project, which will be based in north east Lincolnshire, have been submitted by Altalto Immingham Limited, a collaboration between British Airways, Shell and sustainable fuels firm Velocys. Altalto Immingham Limited is also a subsidiary of Velocys.

Subject to planning and funding decisions, work on the plant is slated to start in 2021. It is hoped that production of commercial volumes of the fuel will start in 2024.

Alex Cruz, the chairman and CEO of British Airways, said in a statement that sustainable fuels could be a "game changer for aviation."

"This development is an important step in the reduction of our carbon emissions and meeting the industry targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020, and a 50% in CO2 reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels," Cruz added.