Honeywell, Oriental Energy to build million-ton sustainable aviation fuel production facility in China
Honeywell and Oriental Energy Company announced that a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility with an annual output capacity of 1 million tons will be built in Maoming, Guangdong Province in China. The new facility will help meet a growing SAF demand, facilitate greenhouse gas emission reduction in aviation fuel production through the deployment of innovative technologies and support China’s goals to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
The Oriental Energy SAF project, which is expected to be built in two phases, involves two production units that will process used cooking oils and animal fats as feedstocks. When completed, it is expected to be among the world’s largest SAF production facilities using used cooking oils and animal fats as feedstocks.
Using such feedstocks helps reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 80% compared with traditional fuels—or by 2.4 million tons each year for the completed project (per California Air Resources Board (ARB) guidelines established for the LCFS).
Oriental Energy, one of the leading propylene producers and LPG distributors in China, will introduce Honeywell UOP Ecofining technology. Honeywell UOP helped establish SAF production with its Ecofining process, which is the first technology used to produce primarily SAF for commercial aviation. Honeywell Green Jet Fuel produced by this process with used cooking oils and animal fats as feedstocks is blended with petroleum-based jet fuel at commercial scale.
When used in up to a 50% blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, SAF produced with UOP’s Ecofining process requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flight.
The Ecofining technology is used in many 100% bio-feed units producing diesel and jet fuels from renewable feedstocks and can be used for dedicated renewable jet fuel production. Honeywell currently has licensed 25 Ecofining units in eleven countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks. In 2021, Ecofining technology supported the world’s first jet flights using SAF produced from algal oil.
According to the “14th Five-Year Plan for Civil Aviation Development” jointly issued by China’s Civil Aviation Administration, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Transport in January 2022, China will strive to build a sound eco-friendly development system for its civil aviation industry, further emphasizing the importance of technological innovation for realizing the country’s decarbonization goals. Furthermore, in the “Special Plan for Green Development of Civil Aviation during the 14th Five-Year Plan Period”, the Civil Aviation Administration stressed the importance of breakthroughs in the commercialization of SAF to reduce industrial greenhouse emissions.
Honeywell’s technology was applied in China’s SAF field as early as 2011. Air China, PetroChina, Boeing and Honeywell UOP cooperated to launch China’s first airplane demonstration test using sustainable aviation biofuel in Beijing Capital International Airport on 28 October 2011. During the test flight, the Boeing 747-400 passenger plane, which is still in service, was fueled by aviation biofuel and driven by the teamwork of PetroChina and Honeywell UOP. The successful flight test represented a precursor to biofuel development for civil aviation in China.