LanzaJet Opens First Ethanol to SAF Production Facility

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by | Jan 29, 2024

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Sustainable aviation fuel is getting a new boost with the world’s first ethanol to SAF production facility, owned by LanzaJet, a sustainable fuels technology company and sustainable fuels producer.

The facility, LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels, is located in Soperton, Georgia, and will produce 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year from low-carbon, sustainable and certified ethanol. LanzaJet’s technology will boost current and future supply to help scale the SAF industry and meet the White House’s SAF Grand Challenge goal of reaching a supply of at least 3 billion gallons of SAF annually by 2030.

SAF is used as a low-emissions alternative to jet fuel, and it’s made from materials such as bio-based feedstocks, oils, and agricultural waste. One recent report projected the SAF market will grow from $1.1 billion in 2023 to $16.8 billion in 2030, spurred by government incentives and airline sustainability targets, with a compound annual growth rate of 47.7%.

While the SAF industry is still just getting started, there is a lot of excitement around its potential to help reduce the aviation industry’s carbon emissions. The industry contributes between 2% and 3% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to LanzaJet. Late last year, Virgin Atlantic became the first commercial airline to successfully complete a transatlantic flight powered with 100% SAF.

SAF produced at LanzaJet’s facility will be used as a drop-in fuel for existing aircraft. The technology used at the facility could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70%, according to LanzaJet.

“Our novel LanzaJet ethanol to SAF process technology is now deployed at our commercial plant in Georgia which will convert ethanol into drop-in SAF,” LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis. “As we start up the plant, we will continue to refine our technology, while launching our efforts to advance new sustainable fuels projects globally. Between feedstock versatility, efficiency, and economics that enable scale in the US and globally, we stand ready to meet aviation’s decarbonization goals established at the United Nations and country ambitions, such as the U.S. SAF Grand Challenge.”

Despite the progress and potential for scale to be added to the SAF market, there are some existing hurdles to widespread adoption across the aviation space. Namely, SAF is up to eight times more costly than traditional aviation fuel, according to a Deloitte report.

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