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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Japan’s NEDO supports project to develop woody biomass-to-SAF commercial-scale supply chain

A project to develop a commercial-scale supply chain for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from gasification of woody biomass and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis technology has been selected by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The selection follows NEDO’s call for participation in its “Biojet Fuel Production Technology Development Project.” Project partners include Mitsubishi Power, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group, Toyo Engineering Corp., JERA Co. Inc., and Itochu Corp.

Velocys plc also announced that since it is Toyo Engineering’s collaboration partner, its FT technology will be integrated into the project.

Mitsubishi Power, Toyo Engineering, JERA and Itochu “will jointly study the conditions, measures and technical issues necessary to achieve early supply of wood biomass-derived aviation fuel, to support future SAF supplies in the domestic market,” stated Mitsubishi Power. The project period is four years, running from fiscal year 2021 to 2024. “The consortium will conduct a feasibility study for approximately two years, then it will move on preparation phase for a demonstration plant and the establishment for supply chain after evaluating the result of the feasibility study,” Mitsubishi Power stated.

Mitsubishi Power, JERA and Toyo Engineering have already demonstrated continuous SAF production by gasification FT synthesis at pilot scale under a NEDO-commissioned project from 2017-’21, the SAF from which was used on a Japan Airlines commercial flight June 17.

“Going forward, the knowledge accumulated in the demonstration project will be applied toward establishing the entire supply chain, including feedstock procurement, production technology and product supply,” stated Mitsubishi Power.

The roles of the partners are expected to be as follows:

  • Mitsubishi Power: Basic design of commercial-scale gasification facilities

  • JERA: Study of commercial-scale applications, applicable laws and regulations, feedstock procurement, methods for mixing neat SAF and petroleum-derived jet fuels, SAF market research, and business feasibility

  • Toyo Engineering: Basic design of commercial-scale FT synthesis (including distillation) facilities

  • Itochu: Research into supply logistics of SAF and byproducts, and byproduct markets.


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