A consortium led by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplier SkyNRG, with LanzaTech as the technology provider, is to build Europe’s first LanzaJet alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) facility. The pre-commercial production plant will convert waste-based ethanol to 30,000 tonnes – about 37 million litres – of SAF per year and is expected to pave the way for extended commercial production capability across Europe and globally. Other partners in the FLITE (Fuel via Low Carbon Integrated Technology from Ethanol) consortium include Europe’s largest applied research organisation, Fraunhofer; energy and sustainability strategy consultancy E4tech; and standards body the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). The project has received €20 million ($24m) in grant funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2024.
“With the increasing demand for SAF in the future, there is a need to diversify SAF technologies and feedstock,” commented Maarten van Dijk, SkyNRG’s Managing Director. “This first-of-a-kind AtJ production in Europe will be an important step in the direction of making SAF more accessible and scalable, supporting net zero ambitions for the aviation industry.”
SkyNRG will act as the project’s coordinator and manage downstream supply chain development, with LanzaTech responsible for plant design, construction and operations. The waste-based ethanol will be sourced from multiple European producers, says the consortium.
“Bending the carbon curve requires collaboration and strong partnerships, something the FLITE consortium exemplifies, and we look forward to implementing LanzaJet technology in Europe,” said LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren. “This is an important enabler to expanding production of SAF and creating a path to a lower carbon future. We are grateful for the Horizon 2020 funding, which has made this project possible.”
Fraunhofer will oversee and distribute communications about the project and E4Tech will conduct the lifecycle assessment, while the RSB will provide guidance on sustainability certification of the facility.
“This project addresses two key challenges faced by the aviation sector today: rapid decarbonisation and doing so in a sustainable manner,” said RSB Executive Director Rolf Hogan. “It aims to scale the production of SAF in Europe and ensure it meets the most stringent sustainability standards. The RSB is proud to support partners to demonstrate sustainability performance and meet regional and global regulatory requirements of the EU Renewable Energy Directive and ICAO’s CORSIA.”
The consortium says it expects to name the location of the facility shortly and reports a number of airlines having shown interest in purchasing the SAF.
SkyNRG is already leading a project to build Europe’s first commercial SAF plant, named DSL-01, in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. It was due to be commissioned in 2022, although this is now unlikely in the light of present circumstances and the timeline is being reviewed and updated, says SkyNRG. When completed, the plant is set to produce 100,000 tonnes of SAF annually from waste and residue streams such as used cooking oil. The project is being supported by Shell, which has an option to purchase SAF from the facility, with KLM committed to purchasing 75,000 tonnes annually for 10 years.