Ellesmere gets £600m aviation fuel plant proposal

Plans have been unveiled for a proposed £600 million facility at Ellesmere Port on the Mersey that would convert non-recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and create up to 800 jobs.

Essar Oil (UK) said it would join forces with Fulcrum BioEnergy and Essar’s subsidiary company Stanlow Terminals Limited to create the new facility to make fuel for use by airlines operating at UK airports.

“This innovative bio-refinery will convert several hundred thousand tonnes of pre-processed waste, which would have otherwise been destined for incineration or landfill, into approximately 100 million litres of low carbon SAF annually,” said Essar.

“The project, which will see an investment of approximately £600m, will use Fulcrum’s proven waste-to-fuel process, which is already being deployed at its pioneering facility outside of Reno, Nevada in the United States, where operations are due to begin later this year.”

The development would see Fulcrum, whose parent is based in California, construct, own and operate the plant within Essar’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex at Ellesmere.

Essar would assist with the blending and supply the fuel to airlines, with Stanlow Terminals Limited providing product storage and logistics for the project under a long-term agreement.

The Stanlow project, named Fulcrum NorthPoint, would create 800 direct and indirect jobs during the design, build and commissioning process and over 100 permanent jobs during its operation.

Plans for Fulcrum NorthPoint are expected to be complete at the end of this year and subject to planning consent, would be operational in late 2025.

Essar Oil UK CEO Stein Ivar Bye said: “Stanlow has produced high quality energy products for over 60 years and we intend to remain a key national supplier of energy for the UK into the future.

“Our sights are firmly set on helping to drive the UK’s decarbonisation strategy.

“This landmark development supports our long term sustainability ambition to deliver the energy solutions of the future and position Stanlow as the UK’s leading sustainable aviation fuel hub.

“It also complements the announcement last month regarding a blue hydrogen development at Stanlow as part of the HyNet project.

“Together, these initiatives will help diversify the refinery in a greener direction, and help achieve the UK’s decarbonisation goals.”

UK Aviation Minister Robert Courts said: “This is great news for the North West, with hundreds of jobs created as the region takes the lead in making aviation greener.

“I hope this is a sign of great things to come as we look forward to a sustainable, low carbon future for aviation, helping us push forward towards our 2050 net-zero target.”