In the United States (US), LanzaJet Inc., a sustainable fuels technology provider and renewable fuels producer has announced that it has secured financing for its Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia (GA), through the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund. The Fund has made a US$50 million investment to support the construction of LanzaJet’s first alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plant.
LanzaJet, a subsidiary of carbon recycling firm LanzaTech Inc., is dedicated to accelerating the energy transition in sectors where decarbonization is hard, such as aviation. LanzaJet produces SAF and renewable diesel from low-carbon, sustainable ethanol sources.
According to a statement, the innovative structure of Microsoft’s financing will enable LanzaJet to bring lower-cost sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel to the global market.
It also creates the opportunity for LanzaJet and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund to work together in enabling LanzaJet, through the Freedom Pines Fuels plant, to catalyze the market for second-generation (2G), waste-based ethanol feedstock, demonstrating clear demand signals for ethanol that can achieve greater carbon reductions.
We know that creating the change which our world desperately needs requires perseverance, innovation, and like-minded partnerships. We are thrilled to bring on Microsoft and its Climate Innovation Fund to help us build our first-of-its-kind sustainable fuels plant in Georgia. The partnership with Microsoft is more than just financing – it advances our work towards net zero fuels, it enables lower-cost sustainable fuels into the market, and it supports the urgency to have real, proven technologies scale up and deploy, said Jimmy Samartzis, CEO of LanzaJet.
Construction on track
Construction of LanzaJet’s Freedom Pines Fuels is “progressing as planned,” even with supply chain, manufacturing, and labor shortages impacting the global economy. Fabrication of the plant is well underway; some modules are already completed and final site engineering is nearing completion.
The biorefinery is expected to achieve mechanical completion this year and begin producing 10 million (US) gallons (≈ 38.75 million litres) of SAF and renewable diesel per year from sustainable ethanol, including from waste-based feedstocks, in 2023.
The investment was made as part of Microsoft’s efforts to achieve its 2030 goal of becoming carbon negative and advancing a net-zero economy. It also allows Microsoft to access sustainable, renewable diesel for its data centers to enable Microsoft to further achieve its net-zero goals.
With this investment, we support LanzaJet in creating new pathways to help companies across industries achieve net-zero carbon through the use of sustainable fuels. Decarbonizing hard-to-abate industries and technologies will be essential to achieving our carbon reduction goals by 2030. We look forward to working with LanzaJet to accelerate the global development and deployment of high-quality, sustainable fuels technologies, said Brandon Middaugh of Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund.
Aiming for 1 billion gallons by 2030
Demand for sustainable fuels is increasing, and governments like those in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) are leading the transition by encouraging sustainable fuel production.
The Biden administration set a goal for achieving net-zero aviation emissions by 2050, with the EU wanting to increase the amount of SAF blended to 63 percent by 2050.
In September of 2021, the White House announced a target of 3 billion gallons ( ≈ 11.36 billion litres) of SAF produced per year by 2030. As part of that announcement, LanzaJet shared it would strive to achieve 1 billion gallons (≈ 3.78 billion litres) of SAF production in the US by 2030, significantly supporting US ambitions.
We set a bold ambition to support the White House with a goal of 1 billion gallons of sustainable fuels by 2030. With Microsoft’s support, this first plant significantly expands the production of sustainable fuels in the US, establishes Georgia as a leader in cleantech, and is the foundation for us as the first alcohol-to-jet sustainable fuels producer, and as a blueprint for the commercial plants we’re developing globally, said Jimmy Smartzis.
Private and public support is crucial
The development of LanzaJet’s plant is also supported by funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). Private sector investment and government support are crucial to enabling the development and scale-up of new technologies to curb carbon emissions as the world tackles climate change.
This is good news for Georgia. My vision remains that Georgia should lead the nation in clean energy and renewable energy technology — including sustainable aviation fuels. I brought the Secretary of Energy to visit the LanzaJet site last year, and I will continue working to promote clean energy technology and create Georgia jobs, remarked Senator Jon Ossoff.
The collaboration between LanzaJet and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund demonstrates that such an innovative investment approach breaks down barriers by deploying new technologies, improves the nation’s infrastructure, and creates new economic opportunities in rural communities.
Microsoft’s financial support of LanzaJet joins other LanzaJet funders including LanzaTech, Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., Mitsui & Co., Ltd., British Airways (BA), Shell, and All Nippon Airways (ANA) – all of which are working together to catalyze and build a new global market for sustainable fuels.
LanzaJet is adding to Georgia’s growing sustainability ecosystem with the development of its aviation fuel and renewable diesel products. We congratulate LanzaJet, Microsoft, Soperton, and Treutlen County on this innovative opportunity. We’re proud that they’re growing in Georgia’s pro-business environment, and we look forward to working with them to support their production goals in the future, said Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp.