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Shell invests in LanzaJet; AtJ sustainable aviation fuel

LanzaJet, Inc., a leading sustainable fuels technology company and sustainable fuels producer, announced that Shell has joined as an investor in the company to advance LanzaJet’s global growth, accelerate commercialization of its technology, and scale the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

LanzaJet’s technology opens up a new and exciting pathway to produce SAF using an AtJ process and will help address the aviation sector’s urgent need for SAF. It demonstrates that the industry can move faster and deliver more when we all work together. Provided industry, government and society collaborate on appropriate policy mechanisms and regulations to drive both supply and demand, aviation can achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

The strategic fit with LanzaJet is exciting. Through our Raízen joint venture in Brazil, we have been producing bioethanol for over ten years, and we have already demonstrated production of cellulosic ethanol from waste materials. Our access to feedstocks, experience of optimizing supply chains, and extensive sales and marketing business will hopefully contribute to LanzaJet creating sustainable, robust, and scalable commercial operations, supporting our customers’ decarbonization ambitions for many years to come.

—Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation


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.

Shell joins founding investors in LanzaJet, including LanzaTech, Suncor Energy Inc., Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and more recently, British Airways, as well as participation from All Nippon Airways.

In addition to its initial investment in LanzaJet and similar to the phased investment approach used with all of the LanzaJet investors, Shell will have the opportunity to make further investments in the construction of larger-scale production facilities over the coming years. This phased-investment approach significantly accelerates commercial deployment at a time when reducing emissions, especially of aviation, is increasingly important and demonstrates a joint commitment to creating a resilient, low carbon future, LanzaJet said.

The investment comes as LanzaJet continues its work to build the first Alcohol-to-Jet (AtJ) facility of its kind globally, a commercial-scale plant (10 million gallons per year capacity) in Soperton, Georgia. Freedom Pines Fuels, as it’s called, continues on schedule with operations beginning in 2022.

LanzaJet was launched in June 2020 following nearly a decade of technology development and commercial scale-up through a partnership by LanzaJet’s founder, LanzaTech, with the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The LanzaJet process can use any source of sustainable ethanol for jet fuel production, including, but not limited to, ethanol made from recycled pollution, the core application of LanzaTech’s carbon recycling platform.

LanzaJet’s technology is able to produce up to 90% of its fuels as SAF, with the remaining 10% as renewable diesel. The SAF will be blended with conventional fossil jet fuel and be supplied to airports through the existing supply routes. The technology can flex to produce more diesel and less SAF, as desired.

LanzaJet’s SAF is approved to be blended up to 50% with fossil jet fuel, the maximum allowed by ASTM, and is a drop-in fuel that requires no modifications to engines, aircraft, and infrastructure. Additionally, LanzaJet’s SAF delivers more than a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, compared to conventional fossil jet fuel.


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