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North West set to see £600m aviation fuel plant investment
Essar Oil has joined forces with Fulcrum BioEnergy and Essar’s subsidiary company Stanlow Terminals to create a new facility which will convert non-recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for use by airlines operating at UK airports.
This innovative bio-refinery will convert several hundred thousand tonnes of pre-processed waste, which would have otherwise been destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100 million litres of low carbon SAF annually.
The project, which will see an investment of approximately £600m, will use Fulcrum’s proven waste-to-fuel process, which is already being deployed at its facility outside of Reno, Nevada in the United States, where operations are due to begin later this year.
The development will see Fulcrum construct, own and operate the plant within Essar’s Stanlow manufacturing complex in Ellesmere Port. This will be the first Fulcrum plant outside the United States. Essar will assist with the blending and transport of the new SAF to airlines, with Stanlow Terminals providing product storage and logistics solutions for the project under a long-term agreement.
The Fulcrum venture will complement Essar’s wider plans to build a green energy industrial cluster at the Stanlow site. Earlier this year, it announced its participation in production of blue hydrogen under the HyNet project.
The project, named Fulcrum NorthPoint, will create 800 direct and indirect jobs during the design, build and commissioning process and over 100 permanent jobs during its operation. Plans for Fulcrum NorthPoint are expected to be complete at the end of this year, and subject to planning consent, will be operational in late 2025.
By using SAF derived from residual domestic household and commercial waste, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced significantly on a lifecycle basis when compared to fuels produced from conventional crude oil. Such emission reductions are approximately 70% and have the future potential to be fully carbon neutral. In addition, SAF produced at the site offers a 90% reduction in particulates, which may benefit local air quality in and around airports.
Stein Ivar Bye, chief executive officer, Essar Oil UK, said: “Stanlow has produced high quality energy products for over 60 years and we intend to remain a key national supplier of energy for the UK into the future. Our sights are firmly set on helping to drive the UK’s decarbonisation strategy. This landmark development supports our long term sustainability ambition to deliver the energy solutions of the future and position Stanlow as the UK’s leading sustainable aviation fuel hub. It also complements the announcement last month regarding a blue hydrogen development at Stanlow as part of the HyNet project. Together, these initiatives will help diversify the refinery in a greener direction, and help achieve the UK’s decarbonisation goals.”
Patrick Walters, chief executive officer, Stanlow Terminals Limited, added: “This landmark announcement of our partnership with Fulcrum after our first year of operations is an excellent example of why Stanlow Terminals Limited was established. By offering efficient low carbon logistics solutions to develop third party business we support diversification of the traditional refinery business and become a fundamental part of the UK drive to become carbon neutral.”
Jeff Ovens, managing director, UK & Europe Fulcrum, concluded: “We are excited to be announcing this project, located within one of the UK’s most important energy producing assets, which will help reduce the burden on landfills and industry’s reliance on fossil fuels. Utilising the world class facilities available at Essar, including the impressive jet fuel storage facility at Stanlow Terminals Limited and direct pipeline to UK airports, Fulcrum, along with its current and future investors, will be able to build and operate its facility more efficiently and sets the ‘gold standard’ for SAF production by fully integrating its new, low carbon fuel technology directly within an existing refinery.
“Fulcrum’s fuel will enable airlines to reduce their impact on the environment and help put the aviation industry on its path to a more sustainable long-term operation. Aviation is one of the most hard to decarbonise transport sectors and sustainable aviation fuel is a key enabler for the reduction of carbon emissions. Unlike other fuel technologies currently being considered by industry, the use of SAF does not require changes to aircraft, engines, or airport infrastructure.”