Solent Cluster wins £6 million in UK Government funding for Fawley SAF feasibility study
The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded £6 million in funding to Esso Petroleum Company, Limited to assess the feasibility of a project at its Fawley petrochemical complex to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The funding, from the DfT’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF), will be used to assess the potential SAF production using ExxonMobil proprietary Methanol to Jet (MtJ) technology. The study will explore technical solutions associated with the production of methanol from refuse derived fuel, or the import of methanol or ethanol, its conversion to SAF and the distribution of the SAF finished product to customers.
Biofuels and biofuel blends, like sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), are expected to play an important role in helping achieve the transition to a net-zero future.
The Advanced Fuels Fund was launched by the DfT in 2022 to competitively allocate grant funding to support UK advanced fuels projects. The award enables us to bring forward our assessment and help the UK achieve its SAF ambition.
If the assessment proves successful, and the project gets the go-ahead, Fawley could produce up to 20 percent of the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) expected to be needed by the UK by 2030.
Fawley is already one of the UK’s leading suppliers of aviation fuel, delivering around 25 percent of the total used at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports via Esso’s proprietary pipelines.
The SAF plant would be part of The Solent Cluster, which brings together 100 private, public, and non-governmental organisations to reduce emissions in the Solent region and beyond.
“ExxonMobil has been a trusted partner to the aviation industry for over 100 years. This award will support efforts to develop the next generation of energy solutions for the aviation sector that have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle-basis. Leveraging our manufacturing expertise at the Fawley Petrochemical complex, expertise in R&D and working alongside other members of the Solent Cluster, this project has the potential to contribute to the UK’s ambition to become a leader in net zero emission flights,” said Michael Foley, ExxonMobil UK Low Carbon Solutions business lead. “It’s another example of the many ways that The Solent Cluster could help reduce emissions across the region and beyond.”
Over the next six years, ExxonMobil plans to invest more than $17 billion globally on initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a significant share focused on scaling up carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and biofuels.
To this end, we plan to provide more than 40,000 barrels per day of lower-emissions fuels by 2025 and we have a further goal of 200,000 barrels per day by 2030.