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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Honeywell and GranBio to produce carbon neutral SAF  

Honeywell and GranBio to produce carbon neutral SAF  
The AVAPCO Thomaston Biorefinery in Thomaston, Georgia (GA) produces cellulose (pulp) and ethanol from woody biomass in an integrated biorefinery application (photo courtesy AVAPCO).

In the United States (US), global industrial technologies, processes, and performance materials major Honeywell International Inc (Honeywell), and compatriot GranBio Technologies, a subsidiary of Brazil-headed industrial biotechnology company GranBio Investimentos S.A. have recently announced that they will combine Honeywell's ethanol-to-jet (EtJ) technology with GranBio's cellulosic ethanol "AVAP" technology to produce carbon neutral sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from biomass residues at GranBio's forthcoming US demonstration plant.

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GranBio’s patented AVAP process converts biomass, including forest and agricultural residues, to pure low-cost, low-carbon-intensity sugars, lignin, and nanocellulose.

The cellulosic sugars are converted to both SAF, through Honeywell’s ETJ technology, and biochemicals, through a separate process.

Combining our biorefinery expertise with Honeywell experience in developing and scaling fuel technologies will help ensure SAF supply goals while supporting GranBio’s mission to provide integrated value chain solutions throughout the world for net zero SAF from biomass. The AVAP technology has great potential, depending on feedstock and plant configuration to allow carbon negative SAF with current life cycle analysis, said Bernardo Gradin, CEO of GranBio.

Use lignocellulosic ethanol

Using forest biomass-derived ethanol from the AVAP process, jet fuel produced from Honeywell’s ethanol-to-jet fuel process can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero on a total lifecycle basis, compared to petroleum-based jet fuel1.

Plus, in addition to vast forest and agricultural residue available for feedstocks, there is an enormous potential to retrofit idle pulp and paper facilities in the U.S., revitalizing forestry value chains and rural manufacturing with great social, environmental, and economic impact, Bernardo Gradin added.

GranBio’s AVAP aims to enable worldwide net-zero SAF production by utilizing abundant, low-cost biomass feedstocks and diversification of income streams through value-added products beyond SAF, providing a significant cost advantage as compared to other SAF producers.

GranBio’s subsidiary AVAPCO was selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive an US$80 million grant to support the demonstration plant that will produce approximately 2 million (US) gallons (≈ 7.57 million litres) per year of SAF upon start-up in 2026.

Suite of solutions

Honeywell now offers solutions across a range of feedstocks to meet the rapidly growing demand for renewable fuels, including SAF.

In addition to Honeywell UOP Ecofining, Honeywell’s renewable fuels portfolio includes ethanol-to-jet technology and the recently announced Honeywell UOP eFining, which converts green hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) into eFuels.

GranBio’s low-carbon feedstock coupled with Honeywell’s SAF expertise will help decarbonize air travel. Our advanced ETJ process is ready now and builds upon Honeywell’s nearly twenty years of experience in renewable fuels. Honeywell’s renewable fuels solutions, including ETJ, incorporate integrated, modular designs, that enable producers like GranBio to build new SAF capacity more than a year faster than is possible with traditional construction approaches, said Barry Glickman, VP, and General Manager of Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions.

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