Four sites in east London being considered for biofuel facility by British Airways teams and Solena Group

British Airways is to build Europe's first sustainable jet-fuel plant and plans to use the low-carbon fuel to power part of its fleet from 2014.

The new fuel will be derived from waste biomass and manufactured in a facility, probably in east London, that can convert a variety of waste materials, destined for landfill, into aviation fuel.

The self-contained plant, which will be built in partnership with the American bio fuel company Solena Group, will convert 500,000 tonnes of waste a year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel.

Consultant Arcadis will advise on and manage the delivery of the project, from managing the site selection to ensuring that the construction is completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

BA says the process offers lifecycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 95% compared with fossil-fuel derived jet kerosene.

This volume of fuel would be more than twice the amount required to make all of British Airways' flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral.

The project will make further savings in greenhouse emissions by reducing the volume of waste sent to landfill, thus avoiding production of the powerful global warming agent, methane, and generating 20MW of electricity a year from renewable sources.

This unique partnership with Solena will pave the way for realising our ambitious goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50% by 2050

Willie Walsh

British Airways has signed a letter of intent to purchase all the fuel produced by the plant.

Four sites in the east of London are among those under consideration for the construction of the bio-jet fuel plant.

BA says the scheme will lead to the creation of up to 1,200 jobs in the area and could reduce significantly local authority landfill tax bills.

Willie Walsh, British Airways' chief executive, said: "This unique partnership with Solena will pave the way for realising our ambitious goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 50% by 2050.

“We believe it will lead to the production of a real sustainable alternative to jet kerosene. We are absolutely determined to reduce our impact on climate change and are proud to lead the way on aviation's environmental initiatives."

Dr Robert Do, chairman and chief executive of the Solena Group said: "The Solena - British Airways BioJetFuel project will efficiently convert biomass into clean renewable fuels and electricity and is completely carbon neutral.

“The plant will be a state-of-the-art renewable fuel manufacturing facility, distinct from a standard waste to energy incinerator facility. It will not produce any polluting emissions or undesirable by-products."