A new industrial consortium will develop a renewable fuel hub on the US west coast, with capacity to produce 340 million gallons (almost 1.3 billion litres) of sustainable aviation fuel per year from 2025. The lead partners in the $2 billion project are World Energy, the world’s first commercial-scale SAF producer, global industrial gases company Air Products and Honeywell, a specialist in SAF production technology. The new fuel plant, to be built and owned by Air Products, will be located at World Energy’s renewable fuel facility in Paramount, California. World Energy will be responsible for SAF production operations while Air Products will also construct and operate a new hydrogen plant that will be connected by a 16km extension to its existing Southern California hydrogen pipeline system. The partners will collaborate on innovations to further reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels produced. Operated under a 25-year ‘take-or-pay’ agreement with World Energy, Air Products claims it will be North America’s largest and the world’s most advanced SAF facility, reports Tony Harrington.
Air Products develops, engineers, builds, owns and operates industrial gas projects around the world, which include gasification facilities that sustainably convert natural resources into syngas for the production of power, fuels and chemicals; carbon capture; and low- and zero-carbon hydrogen projects to support transportation and the energy transition. Last year, it announced a multi-billion-dollar net zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Canada, and a $4.5 billion blue hydrogen complex to be built in Louisiana. The company had fiscal 2021 sales of $10.3 billion from operations in over 50 countries and has a current market capitalisation of around $55 billion.
Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi reported his company, together with partners, was already constructing the world’s biggest green hydrogen facility in Saudi Arabia, and the world’s biggest blue hydrogen plant in Louisiana. “Now we are teaming up with World Energy to build North America’s largest SAF facility,” he said. “We are very pleased to be working with them, enabling another US mega-project that will provide measurable sustainability benefits and advance California’s decarbonisation goals by producing a renewable fuel to meet the growing demands of the aviation industry.”
World Energy has produced SAF on a commercial scale since 2016 at a former oil refinery site in Paramount, California. The new project, which also includes more than 15 other partners, will transform the plant into North America’s largest SAF production facility which, by 2050, is forecast to produce enough renewable fuels to remove more than 76 million metric tons of CO2, equivalent to 3.8 million carbon net zero flights between Los Angeles and New York. The new fuels will also cut fine particulate emissions from aircraft, as well as surface transport modes, while World Energy and Air Products will also work together to transition to green hydrogen inputs.
“Getting real about net zero aviation is going to require the mobilisation of expertise and resources far beyond anything that has come before,” said World Energy CEO Gene Gebolys. “We are pulling together the very best companies in the world with the expertise, experience, commitment and focus to collaborate on pushing the frontier of what can be done to decarbonise aviation today, while building a platform for what needs to be done to decarbonise flight entirely by 2050. This is an immense undertaking. But it must be done, and it requires that we move with the speed, coordination and determination befitting the problem we are working to tackle.”
Honeywell UOP’s Ecofining technology will be used to transform “innovative” renewable feedstocks to 100% sustainable fuel. CEO Bryan Glover said the company had a long-term relationship with World Energy, adding: “Our participation in this project will not only allow World Energy to build one of the most technologically-advanced SAF production and distribution hubs globally, it also helps accelerate the energy transition of the aviation industry.”
Schematic of the Air Products / World Energy project:
Top photo: World Energy’s Paramount facility