US Energy Department Funds Low-Carbon Jet Fuel Demonstration Plant

New funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will support development of a demonstration-scale facility using industrial off gases to product 3 million gallons per year of low-carbon jet and diesel fuels.

DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office awarded $4 million to LanzaTech for the project.

According to LanzaTech, the facility will recycle industrial waste gases from steel manufacturing to produce an ethanol intermediate “Lanzanol.” Both Lanzanol and cellulosic ethanol will then be converted to jet fuel via the alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) process developed by LanzaTech and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

As part of the project, LanzaTech will work with ArcelorMittal to evaluate U.S. opportunities for leveraging this expertise to demonstrate a new pathway to low-carbon fuels from industrial wastes that are either flared or underutilized.

“Economics and sustainability are key to realizing the potential of alternative aviation fuels,” LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren said in a Dec. 30 statement. “Jet fuel accounts for as much as 40 percent of an airline’s operating costs and the sector has made substantial commitments to reduce their CO2 emissions by 2025. So fuels must address both of these needs to succeed at commercial scale. “

Ambitech, an Illinois-based engineering company, will be LanzaTech’s engineering partner, with additional engineering contributions from Aemetis. Other project partners include PNNL; technology providers Petron Scientech, CRI Catalyst Company, Nexceris and Gardner Denver Nash; Michigan Technological University, which will be evaluating the environmental footprint of the fuels being produced; and Audi, which will support by evaluating diesel and gasoline fuel properties. In addition, the project has received support from Airlines for America and the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative.

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