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Connecting Skies Bridging Continents


Firefly Green Fuels, under the leadership of CEO James Hygate, is spearheading a revolutionary approach to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production: turning sewage into jet fuel. Hygate’s groundbreaking vision was recently unveiled at London’s SAF Investor Conference, where he outlined the transformative potential of this innovative technology.

Hygate’s concept is bold yet pragmatic: harnessing the waste generated by passengers on aircraft to produce a significant portion of the fuel needed for their flights. According to Hygate, on a typical flight carrying 250 passengers to Madrid, the waste generated by passengers alone could potentially provide 10% of the fuel required for the round trip.


But how does Firefly Green Fuels plan to achieve this ambitious goal? The answer lies in their pioneering use of Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) technology. This process involves subjecting sewage sludge to high temperatures and pressures in the presence of water within a reactor, breaking down complex organic molecules into a liquid rich in hydrocarbons. The resulting bio-crude can then be refined into sustainable aviation fuel, while biochar, a byproduct of the process, can be utilised as fertiliser.


The benefits of Firefly’s approach are manifold. Not only does it offer a more efficient and cost-effective method of producing SAF compared to traditional means, but it also addresses environmental concerns associated with waste disposal. By repurposing sewage and other biogenic materials, Firefly is not only reducing CO2 emissions but also mitigating the environmental impact of waste disposal.


Firefly’s innovative technology has already attracted significant interest and investment. European low-cost carrier Wizz Air, recognising the potential of Firefly’s SAF, has become a lead customer and investor. In 2023, Wizz Air announced a substantial equity investment in Firefly, with plans to procure up to 525,000 tonnes of SAF over 15 years. This strategic partnership underscores the growing momentum behind sustainable aviation and positions Wizz Air as a leader in the adoption of SAF.


Looking ahead, Firefly Green Fuels is actively seeking additional investment to support the development of its UK demonstration plant and facilitate the commercial rollout of its SAF product. With a bold vision, innovative technology, and strategic partnerships, Firefly is poised to revolutionise the aviation industry and pave the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future in the skies.

Source: Simply Flying.

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