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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

ATJ sustainable aviation fuel demo plant undergoes commissioning in Japan

Byogy ATJ demonstration plant in Tokyo (Photo: Byogy Renewables)

Byogy Renewables Inc., which touts itself as the original architect of the alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) process for production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), has built and is commissioning what the company says is one of the world’s largest ATJ demonstration facilities. The demo plant is converting cellulosic ethanol into SAF and renewable diesel in Japan.

Byogy says Tokyo-based cellulosic ethanol producer Biomaterial in Tokyo Co. Ltd. (BITS) selected its ATJ technology in early 2019 to advance local production of SAF under a Japanese government sponsorship through its New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

"We are very pleased to be working side by side with the seasoned team at Byogy on this important demonstration project supported by NEDO," said Yoshiya Izumi, president of Biomaterial in Tokyo.

Kevin Weiss, CEO of Byogy, said he expects commercialization of his company’s ATJ SAF in Japan by 2025.

“The process can scale across the global ethanol supply chain with small decentralized plants or larger centralized operations, thereby having a real potential to make the largest diversified contribution to the global SAF supply chain,” Weiss said.

Formed in 2006, Byogy Renewables’ technology integrates “proven petrochemical processes using traditional catalytic chemistry and standard commercial equipment that converts any form of ethanol, or butanol, into low-carbon biofuels,” the company stated. “Byogy is leading a charge to decarbonize the heavy transport industries of aviation and shipping.”

According to the company, Byogy’s technology and SAF has been validated after two years of engine testing by Rolls-Royce under a selective program sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration. Byogy says it foresees a path for its ATJ SAF that is not limited by a 50 percent blend cap, like current SAF fuel specs, with the appropriate regulatory approvals of course.

“Byogy was an original member of the task force to develop a global alternative fuel specification under ASTM International for ATJ,” the company stated. “In 2018, ASTM added ethanol as an approved feedstock under the previously adopted ATJ specification D7566 Annex 5, which was the trigger that allowed Byogy to commercialize its technology today, as it continues to push for fully synthetic use in the future.”

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