A $50 million grant from the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy will make sustainable jet fuel just as cheap as fossil fuel for the first time.
Breakthrough Energy is supporting the startup LanzaJet, which is building its first commercial plants and will begin production next year. The facility will reportedly double the current United States capacity for sustainable aviation fuel.
Emissions from the aviation industry are rising, and we need to work on cutting back our fossil fuel usage as soon as possible.
Sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, is a solution that is made from sustainable sources and could ultimately replace fossil fuel in the air travel industry.
LanzaJet creates sustainable fuel by taking ethanol from sources like sugarcane in Brazil, waste gas in China, or corn in the US. They then chemically convert it to SAF and renewable diesel. According to the company, depending on the feedstock used to make the ethanol, the fuel could emit as much as 85 percent less than the current fuel.
Unfortunately, the process is still expensive and energy intensive. The $50 million grant will help bring the cost down and make SAF possible. The company also received a grant worth $14 million from the US Department of Energy.
Fortune reported that the first LanzaJet plant in Georgia will produce 9 million gallons of SAF and 1 million gallons of renewable diesel annually. Although 14 billion gallons of aviation fuel are consumed by the United States each year, this will be a great start. The company plans to continue to expand and grow its company to make SAF a reality.
New research has shown that by replacing petroleum-based aviation fuel with plant-derived fuel, carbon emissions could be reduced by 68 percent.
Other companies are working on SAF as well, including Finnish company Neste, which is set to bt the world’s largest provider of renewable fuels. There’s also World Energy which is the leader in the production of low-carbon fuels in the United States. They are currently the only commercial-scale SAF production facility. Alder Fuels is also creating SAF by converting forest and crop waste into crude oil that can be used to produce aviation fuel.
This plant-sourced fuel could be the answer to greatly reducing carbon emissions when it comes to flying, which will make traveling more eco-friendly.
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