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DOE Partners on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Biorefinery with D3MAX, Southwest Airlines, LanzaJet and NREL

A new pilot-scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) biorefinery project from D3MAX LLC—called SAFFiRE—is moving the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Southwest Airlines, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and LanzaJet towards fulfilling the goals of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge.

“The Department of Energy is committed to turning our ambitious aviation decarbonization goals into realities through strong partnerships across the airline industry” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk. “Moving cutting-edge technology advances in sustainable aviation to production scale will save money, reduce carbon emissions, and reshape the future of the airline travel for the benefit of American consumers.”

The facility will demonstrate reliable production of ethanol from corn stover in the amount of 10 tonnes per day using technologies from NREL and D3MAX, which will then be upgraded to SAF at LanzaJet’s Alcohol-to-Jet facility in Georgia. This so-called ‘Generation 2’ or lignocellulosic biomass conversion project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to fossil fuels by up to 84%, and could produce SAF at a Minimum Fuel Selling Price (MFSP) of $2.75/gallon well below the current MFSP of traditional jet fuel.

The project is funded in part through a DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office recent funding opportunity. The Scale-Up Funding Opportunity provided a total of $64 million in funding to 22 projects that advanced biofuels research with the goal of decreasing transportation emissions. A second Scale-Up Funding Opportunity announced by DOE today will provide up to $59 million for biorefinery projects and more.