Building Europe’s first-of-its-kind SAF production plant
The Fuel via Low Carbon Integrated Technology from Ethanol, or FLITE, 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 plant will convert waste-based ethanol to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at a scale of more than 30,000 tons per year. 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.
SAF is critical 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, it is essential that we diversify feedstock and technology options for SAF production. This precommercial 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.
The FLITE project kick-off was held in December. 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 world’s most trusted, valued and peer-reviewed standard for the biobased economy, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, will support the project through guidance on RSB certification of the facility.
“With the increasing demand for SAF in the future, there is a need to diversify SAF technologies and feedstock,” said Maarten van Dijk, managing director of SkyNRG. “This first of its kind Alcohol-to Jet production in Europe will be an important step in the direction of making sustainable aviation fuel more accessible and scalable, supporting net zero emission ambitions for the aviation industry. SkyNRG is excited to be a part of the FLITE project.”
Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech, said, “Bending the carbon curve requires collaboration and strong partnerships, something the FLITE Consortium exemplifies. We look forward to implementing LanzaJet Alcohol-to-Jet technology in Europe. This is an important enabler to expanding production of sustainable aviation fuel and creating a path to a lower carbon future. We are grateful for the Horizon 2020 funding which has made this project possible.”
RSB Executive Director Rolf Hogan added, “This project addresses two key challenges faced by the aviation sector today—rapid decarbonization and doing so in a sustainable manner. It aims to scale the production of SAF in Europe, and ensure it meets the most stringent sustainability standards. The RSB is proud to support partners to demonstrate sustainability performance and meet regional and global regulatory requirements of EU RED and CORSIA.”
Looking to accelerate local economic development in innovation, energy security and job creation, the FLITE project will produce more than just fuel. 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 that will result in a significant carbon emission reduction relative to fossil kerosene and will also reduce emissions of particulates matter and sulfur. As such, the SAF will be certified through the robust standards of RSB.