Ellesmere Port is set to become the centre of a sustainability revolution in the UK thanks to a £600m investment from an American firm which has developed a technology that allows non-recyclable waste to be converted into aviation fuel.

Fulcrum Bioenergy is developing the world’s first BioFuels plant in Nevada and this month announced plans to build a similar facility on the banks of the Mersey in partnership with Essar Oil and Stanlow Terminals.

Plans for Fulcrum NorthPoint are due to be completed by the end of the year and it is hoped to be operational by 2025, subject to planning consent. Once opened it will process several hundred thousand tonnes of waste, that would have otherwise been incinerated or buried in landfill, producing 100 million litres of low-carbon fuel annually.

Jeff Ovens, Managing Director (UK & Europe Fulcrum) said: “Fulcrum’s fuel will enable airlines to reduce their impact on the environment and help put the aviation industry on its path to a more sustainable long-term operation. Aviation is one of the most hard-to-decarbonise transport sectors and sustainable aviation fuel is a key enabler for the reduction of carbon emissions.

“Unlike other fuel technologies currently being considered by industry, the use of SAF does not require changes to aircraft, engines, or airport infrastructure. Locating this facility in the North West of England at a strategic location will create new, skilled jobs whilst simultaneously contributing to the UK’s Net Zero 2050 objectives.”

The arrangement will see Fulcrum construct, own and operate the plant within Essar’s Stanlow Manufacturing Complex while Essar will assist with the blending and supply the new fuel to airlines and Stanlow will provide storage and logistics solutions.

The Fulcrum venture will complement Essar’s wider plans to build a green energy industrial cluster at the Stanlow site. Earlier this year, it announced its participation in the production of blue hydrogen under the HyNet North West project, which is a clean growth initiative involving a number of large-scale public and private bodies with links to the region.

Essar Oil’s Chief Executive Officer Stein Ivar Bye added: “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.”