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July 14, 2024

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Update 2021/4/20
Clean Energy

brought to you in part by

Natural Action Technologies


Gaining access to sustainable aviation fuel is critical in helping the aviation industry reduce emissions from airplanes and the traditional fossil fuel used to power them.

Chicago based LanzaJet-- a recent spin-off from leading bio-tech and carbon recycler company, LanzaTech, is taking a major step in enabling the decarbonization of the aviation sector. The LanzaTech process of converting carbon monoxide containing gases into valuable fuel products will produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in early 2022 with the construction of its first Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) biorefinery in Soperton, Georgia.

LanzaTech recycles carbon from industrial off-gases. Syngas is generated from any biomass resource (municipal solid waste, organic industrial waste, agricultural waste) and reformed biogas. Pollution is converted by bacteria to fuel and chemicals. LanzaJet is now able to power planes with recycled GHG emissions using the LanzaTech Process. - -Photo Courtesy LanzaTech

WATERTODAY had the pleasure of speaking with LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis about the Company’s accelerated ascent since its inception in June 2020.

Jimmy Samartzis, CEO of LanzaJet has spent the majority of his career focused on climate change, and advancing decarbonization of industries reliant on fossil fuels. His work in the airline industry led to pioneering test flights, the first commercial-scale renewable jet fuel deal and commercial production; a global industry agreement to enable a reduction in aviation emissions and adoption of sustainable fuels. Photo courtesy LanzaJet

“Our technology has been in development for ten years, and LanzaTech simply reached the point to spin the company out,” Samartzis said about the team of twenty leaders, innovators and disrupters who are dedicated to shaping a cleaner world.

Initial research and proof of concept work started out at Pacific Northwest National Labs in 2010 with collaboration with the FAA and US Department of Energy. The technology was scaled up in 2014-1017 at the LanzaTech R&D and demo facility in Soperton, Georgia, USA (LanzaTech Freedom Pines Biorefinery). The new company will produce about 10 million gallons per year of SAF and renewable diesel starting from sustainable ethanol sources for a sector that is requiring climate friendly fuel options in the recovery from the COVID-19 impacts. “We want to enable folks to travel the world but to do so sustainably.”

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is the globally recognized solution to reduce both greenhouse gases and carbon footprint in the aviation industry. SAF produced by LanzaJet ATJ technology is a drop-in fuel that can be used with all existing airline infrastructure, engines, and equipment. The low-carbon, premium SAF meets or exceeds ASTM D7566 Annex 5 jet fuel specifications and is blended with jet fuel up to 50%. Photo Courtesy LanzaJet

Sustainable Fuel Advantages vs Conventional Jet Fuel Include:
  • No aromatics
  • No aromatics
  • No aromatics
  • No Sulphur
  • Greater than 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, depending on ethanol source
  • More than 95% reduction in emission particulates, validated by the national Research Council Canada testing
  • 4%increase in energy density contributing to improved fuel efficiency while in flight
The LanzaJet 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 in commercial scale: Dehydration, Oligomerization, Hydrogenation and Fractionation.

“Our first ATJ demonstration unit produced 4,000 gallons of jet (15,200 liters) and 600 gallons of diesel (2,300 liters). A portion of this fuel was used to power a commercial passenger flight on a Boeing 747 jet operated by Virgin Atlantic from Orlando, Florida to London, England in 2018.”

Landing of the world’s first LanzaJet-fueled CCU transatlantic flight with Virgin Atlantic Photo Courtesy LanzaJet

LanzaJet’s technology is uniquely able to produce up to 90% of its fuel 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 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 when blended, is a drop-in fuel that requires no modifications to engines, aircraft or infrastructure.

Samartzis adds, “It’s only a matter of time and SAF will no longer be blended with fossil fuel. The National Research Council of Canada has already tested our fuel at 100% at higher altitudes and has proven a reduction in particulate matter and chem trails.”

Samartzis believes the general public is ready to see 100% SAF. “We are just a few years away for the scientific community to be comfortable.”

The fuel was used for the world’s first transpacific flight in 2019 to deliver a new Boeing aircraft to ANA in Tokyo, Japan from Everett, Washington, USA Photo courtesy LanzaJet

“I’ve been at this passion of mine for twelve years,” Samartzis concludes, “and I truly feel we are at the point where government policy is ready to accelerate. Corporate customers are anxious to get to net zero while moving products around the world. Investors are ready. The technology is ready. Airlines are ready. “The time is Now.”


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