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SAS, Vattenfall, Shell, and LanzaTech to explore synthetic SAF in Sweden

Vattenfall, SAS, Shell Aviation, and LanzaTech have announced that they will together investigate the production of the world’s first synthetic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using the LanzaJet “Alcohol to Jet” (ATJ) technology on a large scale in Sweden. Instead of using virgin fossil material in the production process, the synthetic SAF will be produced from fossil-free electricity and recycled carbon dioxide (CO2) from district heating (DH).

Vattenfall, SAS, Shell Aviation, and LanzaTech will jointly investigate the production of the world’s first synthetic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using the LanzaJet “Alcohol to Jet” (ATJ) technology on a large scale in Sweden. Instead of using virgin fossil material in the production process, the synthetic SAF will be produced from fossil-free electricity and recycled carbon dioxide (CO2) from district heating (DH).

According to a joint statement, the goal is that a new production facility will produce up to 50 000 tonnes per annum of synthetic SAF, provided that an investment decision is made at a later stage.

The synthetic SAF, also known as electro-fuel (eFuel), will be produced using fossil-free electricity and recovered carbon dioxide (CO2) using LanzaJet’s proprietary “Alcohol-to-Jet” (ATJ) conversion technology, developed by LanzaTech and the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The aviation sector faces incredible challenges getting the volumes of SAF needed for sustainable flight. This project is the start of delivering on these volumes and by reusing carbon dioxide and fossil-free power we have an opportunity for unprecedented scale. We need to rethink carbon and together with fossil-free power, harness it to create a new climate-safe future for all, said Dr Jennifer Holmgren, CEO LanzaTech.

When full production is up and running it could provide air carrier SAS with up to 25 percent of its global demand for SAF in the 2030s.

SAS and Sustainability go hand in hand. That’s why we are incredibly proud to be part of this unique project where ambitious sustainability goals and agendas come together. Our joint commitment in finding ways to enable large-scale production of more sustainable aviation fuel is a fantastic opportunity to accelerate the commercialization of SAF, and thus SAS’s transition towards industry-leading zero-emission flights, said Anko van der Werff, President and CEO, SAS.

The first plant near Forsmark

A joint study has shown promising conditions for the project, and all partner companies now agree to carry out in-depth analyses. The ambition is to commission the new production facility sometime between 2026 and 2027 near Forsmark on Sweden’s east coast.

This initiative shows the potential of cross-industry partnerships to drive the decarbonization of a hard-to-abate sector. To innovate faster in order to bridge to a fossil-free living within one generation. This is a really good opportunity and together we will explore further how to produce low emission electro-fuel for aviation, said Anna Borg, President, and CEO, Vattenfall.

The aim of the project is to get the production of “eJet” fuel started in Sweden. The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and agreed that Vattenfall will investigate fossil-free electricity supply, hydrogen production, and CO2 recovery.

The CO2 will be sourced from Vattenfall’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Uppsala, where approximately 200 000 tonnes of CO2 can be recovered per annum.

Shell Aviation will investigate fuel production, logistics and be the eJet fuel buyer. LanzaTech will provide its gas fermentation expertise to make ethanol from the input gas streams and the parties will license the LanzaJet ATJ technology to convert the ethanol to SAF. SAS will participate as the potential end-user of the eJet fuel.

Sustainable aviation fuel offers the greatest potential to reduce emissions from aviation. It is only by working together today across the aviation ecosystem to drive the technologies and infrastructure needed to produce SAF at a scale that the aviation sector can achieve net-zero by 2050. This is why I am excited for this collaboration to explore one more pathway for SAF production, said Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation.

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