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Shell invests in SAF producer LanzaJet

In the United States (US), LanzaJet, Inc., a leading sustainable fuels technology company and sustainable fuels producer has announced that Royal Dutch Shell plc joins as an investor in the company to advance LanzaJet’s global growth, accelerate commercialization of its technology, and scale the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

In the United States (US), LanzaJet, Inc., a leading sustainable fuels technology company and sustainable fuels producer has announced that Royal Dutch Shell plc joins as an investor in the company to advance LanzaJet’s global growth, accelerate commercialization of its technology, and scale the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

LanzaJet was launched in June 2020 following nearly a decade of technology development and commercial scale-up through a partnership by LanzaJet’s founder, LanzaTech, with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The LanzaJet Alcohol-to-Jet (AtJ) process can use any source of sustainable ethanol for jet fuel production, including, but not limited to, ethanol made from recycled pollution, the core application of LanzaTech’s carbon recycling platform.

Shell joins founding investors in LanzaJet, including LanzaTech Inc, Suncor Energy Inc., Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and more recently, British Airways (BA), as well as participation from All Nippon Airways (ANA).

LanzaJet’s technology opens up a new and exciting pathway to produce SAF using an AtJ process and will help address the aviation sector’s urgent need for SAF. It demonstrates that the industry can move faster and deliver more when we all work together. Provided industry, government and society collaborate on appropriate policy mechanisms and regulations to drive both supply and demand, aviation can achieve net-zero carbon emissions. The strategic fit with LanzaJet is exciting. Through our Raízen joint venture in Brazil, we have been producing bioethanol for over ten years, and we have already demonstrated the production of cellulosic ethanol from waste materials. Our access to feedstocks, experience of optimizing supply chains, and extensive sales and marketing business will hopefully contribute to LanzaJet creating sustainable, robust, and scalable commercial operations, supporting our customers’ decarbonization ambitions for many years to come, said Anna Mascolo, President of Shell Aviation.

Phased investment approach

In addition to its initial investment in LanzaJet and similar to the phased investment approach used with all of the LanzaJet investors, Shell will have the opportunity to make further investments in the construction of large-scale production facilities over the coming years.

This innovative phased investment approach significantly accelerates commercial deployment at a time when reducing emissions, especially of aviation, is increasingly important and demonstrates a joint commitment to creating a resilient, low carbon future.

With the right policies to support the uptake and production of SAF, aviation can achieve net-zero emissions.

We’ve been at a crossroads for years and we’re now at a point in time when real solutions matter to address the global need to get to net-zero. At LanzaJet, we’re in a unique position with technology that is ready and scaling today to produce lower-carbon, sustainable fuels. Shell’s investment and partnership helps to further advance our work to do our part to decarbonize aviation globally, a sector with limited other options in the near- and mid-term, said Jimmy Samartzis, CEO of LanzaJet.

Freedom Pines Fuels on track for 2022

LanzaJet’s technology is uniquely able to produce up to 90 percent of its fuels as SAF, with the remaining 10 percent as renewable diesel. The SAF will be blended with conventional fossil jet fuel and be supplied to airports through the existing supply routes. The technology can flex to produce more diesel and less SAF, as desired.

LanzaJet’s SAF is approved to be blended up to 50 percent with fossil jet fuel, the maximum allowed by ASTM, and is a drop-in fuel that requires no modifications to engines, aircraft, and infrastructure.

Alcohol-to-jet production units at LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery in Soperton, Georgia. (photo courtesy LanzaTech).

Alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) production units at LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery in Soperton, Georgia (GA). With US$25 million investment from Suncor Energy Inc., and Mitsui & Co., Ltd, LanzaJet will complete a 10 million (US) gallons (≈37.85 million litres) per annum of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel demonstration plant at the Freedom Pines facility.  (photo courtesy LanzaTech).

Additionally, according to the company, LanzaJet’s SAF delivers more than a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a lifecycle basis, compared to conventional fossil jet fuel.

The versatility in ethanol, and a focus on low-carbon, waste-based, and non-food /non-feed sources, along with ethanol’s global availability, make LanzaJet’s technology a relevant and enduring solution for SAF.

The Shell investment, the value of which has not been disclosed, comes as LanzaJet continues its work to build the first AtJ facility of its kind globally, a commercial-scale plant – 10 million (US) gallons (≈ 37.8 million litres) per year capacity – in Soperton, Georgia (GA).

Freedom Pines Fuels, as it’s called, continues on schedule with operations beginning in 2022.

We have an outstanding group of investors, leading in the energy transition and working across industries to reduce carbon emissions. I am delighted to welcome Shell to the LanzaJet family as we work together to realize our ambition of producing significant volumes of SAF from wastes to help the aviation sector meet its carbon reduction goals, said Dr Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech and LanzaJet Board Chair.

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