Human waste to fuel air travel could soon become reality as world-first biofuel factory in Essex unveiled

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Human waste could soon be turned into jet fuel, according to biofuel company

Human waste could soon be used to fuel air travel, biofuel company Firefly has announced. Unveiling its plans for a world-first factory in Harwich, Essex, the company said the plant will be dedicated to transforming human waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), Sky News reported.

The company said it is expected to start the supply of this eco-friendly fuel around 2028, with an agreement already in place with Wizz Air to deliver up to 525,000 tonnes of SAF over the next 15 years. Anglian Water, a utility provider, has pledged to contribute biosolids, a byproduct of their wastewater treatment process, to Firefly for an initial pilot SAF plant.

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SAF is made from environmentally friendly sources, and boasts a carbon footprint approximately 70% smaller than that of traditional jet fuel. Remarkably, it can be seamlessly blended with kerosene up to a maximum of 50%, requiring no modifications to existing jet engines.

The new A321Neo in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Wizz AirThe new A321Neo in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Wizz Air
The new A321Neo in Abu Dhabi. Picture: Wizz Air

Despite its numerous benefits, SAF production currently incurs significantly higher costs compared to conventional jet fuel. However, Firefly's CEO, James Hygate, described biosolids as a "kind of disgusting stuff" but "an amazing resource". He said: “We're turning sewage into jet fuel. I can't really think of many things that are cooler than that.”

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