The future of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is even more poised for take-off thanks to a $50 million US grant from Breakthrough Energy.
Submitted by Suncor Energy Inc.
Founded by Bill Gates in 2015, Breakthrough Energy recently announced it will grant its first Catalyst project funding to LanzaJet’s Freedom Pines Fuels SAF plant in Soperton, Georgia.
Andrea Decore, Vice President, Low Carbon Fuels and GHG Offsets at Suncor, says the Breakthrough Energy announcement is big news. “The award came after a rigorous review by Breakthrough Energy, so it’s a real vote of confidence for LanzaJet, its SAF technology, and Suncor’s investment.”
Breakthrough Energy Catalyst brings together corporate and philanthropic organizations to advance potential technologies by funding first-of-a-kind commercial-scale projects. It focuses on four key areas for Catalyst funding, one of which is SAF.
In 2020, Suncor invested in LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) SAF technology and their Freedom Pines Fuels SAF commercial demonstration facility. Japan-based Mitsui & Co. and LanzaTech were also early investors, with British Airways and Shell following. The Freedom Pines Fuels plant has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund.
Projected to be operational at the end of 2023, LanzaJet’s Freedom Pines Fuels project is the firm’s first commercial-scale SAF plant and will be the first in the world to produce ATJ SAF, which has the potential to lower emissions by at least 70 per cent compared to fossil jet fuel. Once fully operational, the plant will play a critical role in scaling SAF production and bringing lower-cost sustainable fuels to market.
Andrea points out that, “Aviation accounts for approximately two to three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. As a ‘drop-in’ fuel, SAF can be blended up to 50 per cent with conventional jet fuel and offers an important way to quickly decarbonize aviation with existing aircraft in use around the world.”
The LanzaJet process can use any source of sustainable ethanol for SAF production, including ethanol produced from municipal solid waste, agricultural residues, industrial off-gases and biomass.
The demonstration facility is expected to produce nine million gallons of SAF and one million gallons of renewable diesel annually, roughly doubling current SAF production in the U.S. To put that into perspective, the facility is projected to produce enough SAF to fuel more than 1,300 Boeing 737-800 jets per year.
Construction of the Freedom Pines Fuels project is underway with completed modules due to ship to the site near Savannah, Georgia before the end of 2022.
Suncor Energy is Canada's leading integrated energy company. Suncor's operations include oil sands development, production and upgrading; offshore oil and gas; petroleum refining in Canada and the U.S.; and the company's Petro-Canada retail and wholesale distribution networks (including Canada's Electric Highway™, a coast-to-coast network of fast-charging electric vehicle stations). Suncor is developing petroleum resources while advancing the transition to a low-emissions future through investment in power, renewable fuels and hydrogen. Suncor also conducts energy trading activities focused principally on the marketing and trading of crude oil, natural gas, byproducts, refined products and power. Suncor has been recognized for its performance and transparent reporting on the Dow Jones Sustainability index, FTSE4Good and CDP. Suncor is also listed on the UN Global Compact 100 stock index. Suncor's common shares (symbol: SU) are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.
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