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Manchester Airport to become the first airport in the UK to have a direct sustainable jet fuel supply

Posted: 28/10/2021

Manchester Airport will become the first in the UK to have a direct feed of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) thanks to a partnership between Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and Fulcrum BioEnergy Limited UK (Fulcrum).

MAG has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fulcrum, which will support the development and delivery of SAF produced at a new waste to fuels biorefinery at Stanlow, Cheshire.

As part of the agreement – backed by UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng - SAF will be supplied to Manchester Airport through a pipeline that already runs between Stanlow and the airport.

Fulcrum is a pioneer in the conversion of non-recyclable residual wastes into sustainable fuels. The new biorefinery, Fulcrum NorthPoint, is part of wider plans to establish the North West as the leading producer of SAF in the UK.

Fulcrum and MAG’s partnership will work to deliver on the opportunity SAF presents to decarbonise the aviation industry and could see up to 10 per cent of the fuel used by aircraft at Manchester Airport replaced with SAF within five years of the Fulcrum NorthPoint facility becoming operational.

The partnership will provide airlines operating from Manchester Airport with the ability to use SAF to help toward the decarbonisation of their flights.

 Neil Robinson, MAG CSR and airspace change director said: “Today really is a landmark moment in our journey towards a decarbonised aviation sector. By working towards a future supply of SAF, direct to Manchester Airport via existing pipelines from a local refinery, we’re making sustainable operations accessible for airlines based here.

 “The introduction of SAF is testament to the innovation we have seen, and the collaboration between airports, airlines, the Government and suppliers like Fulcrum to achieve real progress towards our goal of Net Zero for UK aviation by 2050.

 “We are committed to ensuring that this progress continues through our role on the Government’s Jet Zero Council, on Sustainable Aviation and through our own targets in our CSR Strategy where we’re working to becoming Net Zero at our airports by 2038.”

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This partnership is a huge leap forward for the long-term competitiveness of Britain’s aerospace sector, demonstrating how, by going green, industry can create jobs and help level up across the UK.

 “Cleaner aerospace and aviation is at the centre of our plans to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. That is why we are backing sustainable aviation fuel with £180 million of support and working with industry to turbocharge low carbon aerospace innovation with £3.9 billion.”

Fulcrum NorthPoint will produce approximately 100 million litres of SAF per year – which when blended 50/50 with traditional jet fuel, could fill the fuel tanks of approximately 1,200 Boeing 777-300s. 

The fuel produced will have a CO2 footprint at least 70 per cent lower than that of its traditional jet fuel equivalent and will be produced from residual household and commercial wastes, which would otherwise be destined for landfill or incineration. 

Jeff Ovens, Fulcrum Bioenergy Limited UK managing director said: “Support for SAF in the UK has reached new heights and the development of the Fulcrum NorthPoint SAF facility in Cheshire will bring significant volumes of much needed low carbon fuel for airlines, either those based here in the UK, or flying in from overseas. 

“Our partnership with MAG as an airport operator will bridge airlines and fuel suppliers and make SAF accessible and more widespread within the sector. This collaboration will also support our ambition to cementing the North West as a centre for excellence for SAF in the UK, driving forward the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for an industrial revolution.”

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