International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced an investment in Nova Pangaea Technologies, a Teesside-based cleantech company.
The firm’s technology converts agricultural waste and wood residue feedstocks into second-generation bioethanol, which can then be processed into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
IAG said its investment will progress the development of the UK’s first waste-to-fuel commercial-scale production facility.
Construction of the NOVAONE facility is expected to begin this year, with the goal of producing biofuels by 2025.
The investment adds to IAG’s existing $865 million commitment in future SAF purchases and investments. In 2021 the group announced a commitment to operate 10 per cent of its flights with SAF by 2030.
IAG is seeking to secure further UK SAF supply ahead of the introduction of the UK Government’s SAF mandate, which will require at least 10 per cent of jet fuel to be made from sustainable feedstocks by 2030.
The World Travel and Tourism Council recently called on governments worldwide to “get serious” on incentivizing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), warning that there is currently a “massive gap” between demand and production.
The WTTC said that current SAF production only meets 0.1 to 0.15 per cent of requirement, and urged governments to provide “strong incentives to encourage investment in SAF production, including tax credits, grants or other financial incentives”.
Commenting on the news IAG’s chief executive officer Luis Gallego, said that SAF was “the only realistic option for long haul airlines to decarbonise, which is why investment in this area is so critical”.
“At IAG, we have set a goal to use 10 per cent SAF by 2030. And we are not just buying SAF, we are willing to invest in developing the industry, but we need governments in the UK and Europe to act now to encourage further investment.”
This month UK carrier Virgin Atlantic announced plans to operate the world’s first transatlantic flight using 100 per cent SAF later this year.
Pending regulatory approvals and further testing, Virgin intends to operate a flight between Heathrow and New York JFK on 28 November, using a Boeing 787 aircraft powered by 60 tonnes of SAF.