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LanzaTech, Virgin Atlantic inch closer to building world's first large-scale AtJ plant

LanzaTech Inc., a US-headed biotech company has announced that it together with the airline carrier Virgin Atlantic and partners are one-step closer to building the world’s first large-scale Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) facility producing commercial quantities of fuel in the UK having been selected for project development funding with a GBP410 000 (≈ EUR 465 000) grant from the UK government. The commercial facility would convert low carbon ethanol produced from waste emissions, to biojet fuel.

The LanzaTech – Virgin Atlantic partnership with Dr Jennifer Holmgren (left), CEO of LanzaTech and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group aim to create commercially viable, sustainable aviation fuel from industrial waste gases. Having been selected for project development funding, the partnership is one step closer to building the world’s first large-scale Alcohol-to Jet (AtJ) facility in the UK (photo courtesy Virgin Atlantic).

Last year LanzaTech submitted a bid to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C) for partial funding of this facility and has now been selected for project development funding with a GBP410 000 (≈ EUR 465 000) grant from the UK government.

This waste to jet fuel project has the potential to help transform the aviation industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality around our country’s airports. That is why we are providing support to this important technology as part of our GBP22 million of funding for alternative fuels, which will pave the way for clean growth in the UK. Supporting important developments like this is just part of our work to help ensure our aviation sector is greener than ever, and we will explore further measures as part of our Aviation Strategy, said Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary.

Earlier this year, ASTM International added ethanol as an approved feedstock in ASTM D7566 Annex A5, the Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons for alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK).

The British government understands the importance of using waste feedstocks for flight to help decarbonize the aviation sector. We are delighted to be part of this vision and together with our partners are looking forward to realising a commercial AtJ facility in the UK, said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech.

The project includes partners from each of the required sectors; Aviation  – including airline partner Virgin Atlantic, as well as Boeing, SkyNRG, Heathrow and Gatwick Airports; Steel Mill Ethanol Supply – ArcelorMittal; Technical – Air BP, World Fuel Services, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL); Sustainability –  Ecofys, a Navigant Company, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and Cerulogy; Site – Tata Steel UK and Greenergy.

At Virgin Atlantic, we’ve been committed to reducing our carbon emissions for more than a decade. Along with more efficient aircraft and operational procedures, we know sustainable aviation fuels are a key next step in this journey. As LanzaTech’s long-time partner, we’re excited to be able to support building commercial capacity in the UK, and look forward to our future flights being powered by this advanced, waste-based solution, said Craig Kreeger, CEO of Virgin Atlantic.

A separate Stage 2 Competition in late 2018 will provide funding for project implementation to successful award winners.

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