The FLITE consortium, led by SkyNRG and with LanzaTech as the technology provider, will build the first-of-its-kind LanzaJetTM Alcohol to Jet (AtJ) facility. The facility will convert waste-based ethanol to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at a scale of over 30,000 tons/yr. The project received €20 million in grant funding from the EU H2020 programme and is a major milestone on the path to a net zero emission for the aviation industry. Sustainable aviation fuel is critical to reduce emissions from the aviation sector in the coming decades.
Industrial decarbonisation is rising on the agenda. In 2019, the campaign ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C: Our Only Future’ was set up, calling for businesses to set science-based emissions reduction targets. The goal is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and limit global temperature increase to within 1.5°C. By November 2020, 323 companies had pledged a net-zero carbon commitment.
The Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) space is evolving rapidly with many technologies and players, but there are still barriers to overcome. A SAF funding competition comprising mechanisms tailored to the needs of the industry could help attract early stage SAF plants to the UK benefiting both a sustainable aviation industry and the UK economy. Renewable fuels of biological (i.e. biofuels) and non-biological origin (i.e. e-fuels), as well as recycled carbon fuels, will be an important part of the overall decarbonisation of transport.
Momentum behind a wide range of alternative fuels in different transport modes is growing, and E4tech has been working with the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) on a major 13 month study to assess opportunities in low carbon fuel value chains and their potential development and deployment across road, marine and aviation transport. The study evaluated a range of reformulated fuels, biofuels, e-fuels and hydrogen with CCS for use in existing, modified or new engines and infrastructure. The later stages of the study focused increasingly on marine and aviation, as transport sectors more difficult to decarbonise through electrification.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) can play a significant role in the UK’s net zero aspirations, with UK domestic production potentially achieving 3.6m tonnes CO2 savings annually by 2038. The growth of a UK SAF industry could generate up to £3 billion in GVA per annum and 20,200 jobs by 2038, with these benefits spread across the UK.