02 May 2023

Independent UK law firm Burges Salmon has advised aviation fuel producer Firefly on the £5 million equity investment from Wizz Air Plc, Europe’s fastest growing and most environmentally sustainable airline globally*.

This is Wizz Air’s first equity investment in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) research and development. The partnership with Firefly will allow the airline to supply SAF to its UK operations from 2028, up to 525,000 tonnes over 15 years. The agreement has the potential to save 1.5 million tonnes of CO2-eq*.

Firefly specialises in a process, which converts sewage sludge, a low-value waste product available in large quantities, into SAF. More than 57 million tonnes of sewage sludge are produced in the UK each year, with the potential to produce 250,000 tonnes of SAF. Firefly’s SAF, which will be independently certified against the leading sustainability standard RSB, is projected to deliver a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel on a life cycle basis. Firefly aims to have its first commercial plant operating within the next five years.

This is a really exciting partnership between a major airline and a fantastic and innovative local business with the potential to have a dramatic positive environmental impact. The transaction is also a perfect example of the value of Burges Salmon’s ability to bring together its extensive NetZero expertise (in this case our decarbonised transport experience and our history of working on significant waste to fuel projects) and our corporate capabilities and track record in helping businesses developing transformative clean technologies to raise capital from institutional and corporate investors.

The Burges Salmon team advising on the deal comprised partner Alex Lloyd and solicitor Elena Kaltsas, from the firm’s Corporate Group along with Energy team members, partner Nick Churchward and director Emma Andrews.

James Hygate, CEO of Firefly Green Fuels, says: “We are very grateful to Burges Salmon for steering our team through what was a complex and demanding transaction and helping us establish this exciting partnership with Wizz Air. The investment will accelerate the commercialisation of our game-changing Firefly process, with the binding offtake agreement saving a staggering 1.5m tonnes of carbon emissions. Firefly will facilitate a step change towards the future of air travel.”

Alex Lloyd adds: “This is a milestone investment for Firefly and we are proud to have been able to play our part in enabling this really exciting and important aviation sector deal.”

*According to the CAPA – Centre for Aviation Awards for Excellence 2022

** The saving is based on the IATA carbon emission factor, where 1kg of Jet fuel translates into 3.16 kg of CO2. 

Key contact


Alex Lloyd Partner

  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Private Equity
  • Venture Capital

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