First ethanol-to-sustainable aviation fuel plant opens

The U.S. now boasts the first commercial production plant capable of converting ethanol into sustainable aviation fuel.

LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels, located between Macon and Savannah, Georgia, is a new 10 million gallon a year facility that will source low-carbon ethanol to produce SAF and renewable diesel.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association director Monte Shaw attended the recent grand opening and says sustainable aviation fuel is here and now.

“We’ve seen it from other feedstocks, particularly fats, oils, and greases. And now we’re seeing it from ethanol. So that just hits home the importance of making sure that Iowa and all of U.S. ethanol has a chance to be in that market.”

But Iowa Corn Usage and Production Committee chair Dan Keitzer says corn-based ethanol produced at Iowa plants does not have a low enough carbon intensity score to be utilized in SAF production.

“We drastically need to lower the CI score to assure that Iowa corn can compete for this new market.”

He says one of the best ways to lower ethanol’s carbon intensity score is by sequestering CO2 from the top of the plant and using it in an industrial use, or transporting it to a permanently sequestered underground storage facility.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also attended LanzaJet’s grand opening and said the Biden administration is committed to harnessing the full potential of sustainable aviation fuel.

  • Problem is, SAF from ethanol requires gargantuan quantities of energy to produce each liter!!! To plant, apply herbicides/insecticides, water, harvest, transport the biomass, then process the ethanol to add carbon to produce the long-chain hydrocarbons, requires the equivalent of 10 gallons of diesel/kerosene for each liter of SAF produced!!! That’s HARDLY SUSTAINABLE!!!

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