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LanzaJet opens landmark ethanol-to-SAF facility in Georgia

| By Mary Bailey

announced the opening of the company’s LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels, the world’s first ethanol-to-sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility. LanzaJet’s technology is recognized as the pioneering ethanol to SAF production process and pathway. This ethanol-based technology is the world’s first viable next-generation SAF technology capable of scaling production to the levels needed to decarbonize aviation through widely available and sustainable feedstock, emerging commercial waste-based feedstock solutions, and promising economic conditions.

Located in Soperton, Georgia, LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels represents one of the most promising SAF technologies in nearly a decade to reach commercial readiness, and will produce 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year from low carbon, sustainable, and certified ethanol which meets U.S. and global standards. LanzaJet’s technology enables current and future supply volume to support a scaled SAF industry as well as the White House’s SAF Grand Challenge, which calls for a supply of at least 3 billion gallons of SAF annually by 2030 to tangibly reduce aviation emissions. With its proprietary ethanol to SAF technology, LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels serves as a blueprint for utilizing first-of-its-kind innovation to scale SAF production and combat the worsening climate crisis.

LanzaJet’s Freedom Pines Fuels plant represents the culmination of a history of firsts within the SAF industry, dating back to its origin in 2010 as the first ethanol to SAF technology to have derived in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL). The technology’s first commercial flights were completed with Virgin Atlantic and All Nippon Airways (ANA) in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“Today is testament to the conviction required by industry, government, and funders to advance innovation and stretch the boundaries of what is achievable to address decarbonization and tackle climate change. This is a historic milestone in a long history of firsts for LanzaJet, the United States, and the SAF industry globally,” said LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis. “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. 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.”

LanzaJet was joined at Wednesday’s event by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols, Treutlen County Commissioner Phil Jennings, and Soperton Mayor John Koon.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to harnessing the full potential of SAF as we continue to build a strong economy that is sustainable, resilient, competitive, and keeps rural places thriving,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As we transition to SAF, this will not only create new climate smart commodity markets for American producers, but it will also help American companies such as LanzaJet corner the market of a valuable, emerging industry, while revitalizing rural communities like Soperton with agriculture front and center in the effort. LanzaJet’s facility will help accelerate the SAF industry and provide new economic opportunities for producers for a more sustainable future.”

Additionally, the opening of Freedom Pines Fuels also featured LanzaJet shareholders International Airlines Group (IAG), LanzaTech, Mitsui & Co, Shell, and Suncor Energy and investors such as the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Breakthrough Energy, British Airways, and All Nippon Airways (ANA).

“LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels is proof of the energy transition accelerating in real time,” said Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaJet Board Director and Chief Executive of LanzaTech. “We are demonstrating the ability to establish secure supply chains domestically, create new jobs locally, and produce sustainable aviation fuel globally. This historic facility is an important pillar of a growing SAF economy in the United States and is a significant decarbonization milestone in the world.” 

The SAF produced by LanzaJet in Soperton, Georgia will be used immediately as drop-in fuel for existing aircraft in an aviation industry, which contributes two to three percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions from humans. The technology used at LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70 percent and produced from a variety of sustainable feedstocks, such as agricultural waste, municipal solid waste, energy crops, carbon captured from industrial processes, and more.

LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels is fully funded and has committed offtake agreements for all fuel produced in the next 10 years. Located in Treutlen County, Georgia and less than 100 miles from Savannah, the facility will have created more than 250 total jobs and generate an estimated $70 million in annual economic activity for the local economy.

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