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Plans submitted for a jet fuel plant in Port Talbot

PLANS have been submitted to Neath Port Talbot Council for the creation of a major new industrial facility in the borough.

The proposals are for a site in Port Talbot that would produce commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel in the town, by developers at a US-based firm, LanzaTech.

The plans, which were submitted to Neath Port Talbot’s planning authority in November, came after the company secured  £25m from the UK Government’s Advanced Fuel Fund, to deliver the project as part of its efforts to reach the 2050 net carbon zero target.

The facility would be located at Crown Wharf in Port Talbot on an industrial brownfield site, and could produce as much as 100 million litres of sustainable aviation fuel per year by using an alcohol-to-jet facility to turn sustainably sourced ethanol into aviation fuel.

The development, named Project Dragon, is also expected to create over 150 full-time jobs in the area, including 85 jobs on the site, along with more business created further down the supply chain.

If approved, reports say the construction of the facility would aim to begin sometime in the winter of 2024 with the facility then expected to start production of fuel in 2026. Once operational they say the processing facility would be operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Jim Woodger, LanzaTech UK’s managing director, said, “We are delighted to have submitted our planning application, a key milestone in making Port Talbot a leading centre to produce sustainable aviation fuel.

“The application comprises more than 2,000 pages of detailed analysis to ensure Project Dragon is safe and minimises the impact on the local environment whilst maximising the benefits for the town. We have devoted considerable efforts to listen and respond to the cares of local people and Neath Port Talbot Council.”

He added: “LanzaTech is committed to being a good neighbour. We are delighted that feedback on our proposals shows widespread support, and we will continue to inform local people as our plans progress.

“We hope to receive planning consent in early 2024 and begin construction next year, creating several hundred jobs throughout the two-years of the build. Our goal is to begin hiring permanent staff and be in production in late 2026. However, these time-scales depend on the UK Government finalising its mandate to require the use of sustainable aviation fuel.”

The plans also come at a time of turmoil for the town of Port Talbot after it was announced that the town’s steelworks site could potentially lose it’s two iconic blast furnaces in place of an electric steel-making arc in the future, with fears from unions that such a transition could result in a potential loss of as many as 3,000 jobs.

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