Gevo has signed on to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a group of eight airlines and certain fuel producers to work cooperatively on expanding the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). (Earlier post.)
The consortium, initially formed in September 2018, is the first of its kind to include fuel suppliers, airlines, and airport agencies in a collaborative effort to accelerate the global transition to SAF.
SFO is working on a study to identify the necessary supply chain and infrastructure required to make this expansion of SAF at the airport a reality, and is preparing an implementation plan to do so. SFO is positioning for increased interest in the California market for SAF producers and suppliers, given the additional incentives likely to be made available, through a California Air Resources Board ruling allowing the opt-in inclusion of SAF in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). This is the first sub-national government to offer any incentive for the benefits provided by SAF.
The four airlines—United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Cathay Pacific—represent nearly 70% of all flights at SFO, while the four fuel producers include SFO’s two primary suppliers, Chevron Corporation and Shell Oil Company along with Neste and LanzaTech, Inc.
Together with SFO Fuel Company, LLC, the Airport’s Fuel Consortium, Gevo and these partners will strive to increase SAF supply globally and at SFO.
Airlines at SFO currently use more than 1 billion gallons of jet fuel annually. If SAF suppliers are able to increase global supply from the current 5 million gallons per year to 500 million gallons per year, the use of SAF could prevent nearly 4.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year—equivalent to taking more than one million cars off the roads.
We are pleased to be a member of the Consortium to advance the use of sustainable aviation fuel at SFO. We are the only player at the table using low cost, sustainably produced carbohydrates as a feedstock to produce renewable jet fuel. In our production process, not only do we produce renewable jet fuel, we also can produce large quantities of protein for the food chain and even sequester carbon in the soil. In fact, for every barrel of bio jet fuel produced by Gevo, we could produce approximately 420 pounds of protein and sequester up to 60 pounds of carbon back into the soil. We are planning on expanding our plant in Luverne, MN, to make it capable of producing nearly 10 million gallons per year of our sustainable alcohol-to-jet fuel, and we are looking to build additional sustainable alcohol-to-jet fuel production plants that could even use wood as a feedstock.—Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo
Gevo is focused on the development and production of mainstream fuels like gasoline and jet fuel using renewable feedstocks that have the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions at a meaningful scale and enhance agricultural production, including food and other related products.
Gevo’s sustainable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) is included in ASTM D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons) which makes it eligible to be used as a blending component with standard Jet A-1 fuel for commercial airline use in the United States and in many other countries around the globe. Gevo’s ATJ is eligible to be used for up to a 50% blend in conventional jet fuel for commercial flights. Gevo currently has the capability to produce up to 80,000 gallons of ATJ with plans to increase production to nearly 10 million gallons.
Gevo’s ATJ has been used to power commercial flights since 2016. In June 2016, the first two commercial flights using Gevo’s renewable alcohol to jet fuel (ATJ) took place. Alaska Airlines used Gevo’s ATJ to fly from Seattle to San Francisco International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, respectively.
In October 2016, Gevo produced the world’s first cellulosic renewable jet fuel meeting ASTM D7566. This cellulosic ATJ was produced in conjunction with the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). NARA supplied the sugars that were derived from forest residuals in the Pacific Northwest. In November 2016, this cellulosic ATJ powered an Alaska Airlines’ commercial flight that originated in Seattle and flew to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
In November 2017, Gevo’s ATJ was used by eight commercial airlines for Fly Green Day, sponsored by the O’Hare Fuel Committee, at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. This event marked the first time renewable jet fuel has been supplied at a commercial airport using the existing airport fueling infrastructure, such as pipelines, terminals and tankage. The commercial airlines that participated were: Lufthansa, United Airlines, Etihad, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Atlas Air.
In September 2018, Gevo and Virgin Australia Airlines, with the support of the Queensland Government, accomplished another industry first by being the first to supply renewable jet fuel into a commercial airport infrastructure in Australia. Like the Fly Green Day at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in 2017, Gevo’s renewable jet fuel was supplied using the general fuel system at Brisbane Airport.