The FLITE (Fuel via Low Carbon Integrated Technology from Ethanol) consortium, led by SkyNRG and with LanzaTech as the technology provider, will build the first-of-its-kind LanzaJet Alcohol to Jet (AtJ) facility. The facility will convert waste-based ethanol to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at a scale of more than 30,000 tons/yr.
LanzaJet’s proven ATJ process is a continuous catalytic process that converts ethanol to Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK) or Synthetic Paraffinic Diesel (SPD) through four primary process steps that have each been proven at commercial scale: Dehydration, Oligomerization, Hydrogenation and Fractionation.
The ethanol is first dehydrated to ethylene in the Dehydration section. The ethylene is then oligomerized into longer carbon chain olefins in the Oligomerization section, where the process operating conditions can be tuned to produce a high yield of either jet or diesel.
The Hydrogenation section saturates any olefins to paraffins and iso-paraffins. Finally, the product is fractionated in the Fractionation section to isolate the SPK jet blend-stock as a stable, wide boiling, paraffinic kerosene that has superior properties to conventional jet fuel including improved energy density, freeze point and thermal stability. The remaining fraction is SPD with superior properties to conventional diesel.
The project received €20 million in grant funding from the EU H2020 program and is a major milestone on the path to a net-zero emission for the aviation industry.
Sustainable aviation fuel is needed to reduce emissions from the aviation sector in the coming decades. Ambitious targets are proposed as part of the European Green Deal ‘Sustainable and smart mobility’ policy and the new legislative initiative ‘EU ReFuelEU Aviation’. To meet these targets in the years to come, feedstock and technology options for SAF production need to be diversified. This pre-commercial AtJ production plant will pave the way to implementing SAF production across Europe and around the globe, producing commercially relevant quantities of SAF to support future aviation’s climate targets, SkyNRG said.
The FLITE project kick-off was held on 8 December 2020. The consortium consists of leaders from their respective industries. SkyNRG, a global market leader for SAF solutions, is acting as the project coordinator and managing downstream supply chain development; carbon recycling company, LanzaTech, will be responsible for plant design, construction and operations using the LanzaJet AtJ technology; Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest applied research organization, will oversee and distribute communications about the project; energy and sustainability strategy consultancy E4tech, will conduct the life cycle assessment; and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), will support the project through guidance on RSB certification of the facility.
The FLITE AtJ facility will be fully operational in 2024, producing SAF using waste-based ethanol sourced from multiple European producers. In addition, it will produce SAF which will result in a significant carbon emission reduction relative to fossil kerosene and will also reduce emissions of particulates matter and sulfur. The SAF will be certified through the standards of RSB.