Plans for a factory in Port Talbot creating hundreds of new green jobs in the production of commercial scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from gases produced in the making of steel, has secured a £25m funding boost. US firm LanzaTech, which is behind the project, is amongst five recipients across the UK sharing £165m under the UK Government’s Advanced Fuel Fund.
The fund forms part of effort to reach the 2050 net carbon zero target and supporting the decarbonisation of the aviation sector. LanzaTech, which has been working with Neath Port Talbot Council and Tata Steel- through its primary steel making plant in the town - for a number of years has developed technology converting steel mill off-gases into ethanol that is then used as an SAF.
The company’s Project Dragon factory is scheduled to become operational in 2026, creating hundreds of green jobs and producing 79,000 tonnes of SAT when at full capacity.
Jennifer Holmgren, chief executive of LanzaTech, said: “The Advanced Fuels Fund competition from the Department for Transport shows real leadership in validating new technologies that can have a real impact globally and we’re excited that Project Dragon has been recognised for its potential to deliver results and create new jobs while producing the volumes of SAF greatly needed by a sector that has limited options today.
We must accelerate deployment of SAF plants in the UK and by working together, we can show the world what is possible, and I thank the UK Department for Transport for its continued support.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Using waste or by-products to refuel airliners sounds like a flight of fancy, but thanks to £165m of government funding it’s going to help us make guilt-free flying a reality. It’s exactly this kind of innovation that will help us create thousands of green jobs across the country and slash our carbon emissions.”
The other SAF projects backed include new plants in Teesside, Immingham and Ellesmere Port. Together they are forecast to create thousands of green jobs using different methods in the production of creating SAF - including from everyday household waste. Combined they are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 200,000 tonnes each year once fully operational– the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road.
Launched alongside the Jet Zero Strategy in the summer, the Advanced Fuel Fund is designed to support the Westminster government’s vision for the UK to become a world leader in SAT production.
Jim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, said: “The Jet Zero Strategy was a real statement of intent from the government that aviation, without the carbon, is an achievable end goal by 2050. This £165m of funding -alongside the 10% SAF mandate by 2030 shows the government shares our ambition of a home-grown SAF industry here in the UK. This could generate tens of thousands of jobs and huge GVA (gross value added), levelling-up and exports potential for the UK. It’s a big prize and one we are committed to working with ministers to achieve.”
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: "A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “This is great news for LanzaTech for Port Talbot and the wider economy across south-west Wales. Given our net zero ambition, we have worked closely with the company since 2018 to help them establish a presence in Port Talbot, which the company saw as being the right location and business environment to invest in.
“We are committed to helping create green jobs in the new industries of the future, which will help us deliver our ambition of creating a stronger, fairer and greener economy. This is exactly the type of investment we want to see more of here in Wales.”
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