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US biotech company teams up with Suncor, Mitsui to form sustainable aviation fuel producer


Venture to produce 10 mil gal/year starting early 2022

Initial plant to be located in US state of Georgia

London — US-based biotech company and carbon recycler LanzaTech is teaming up with partners including Suncor Energy in a venture to be known as LanzaJet, which it is hoped will produce 10 million gallons/year of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) starting in early 2022, it said.

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A demonstration plant is being built at LanzaTech's Freedom Pines site in the US state of Georgia.

Canada's Suncor is investing $15 million in the venture and is contracted to take a significant portion of the SAF and renewable diesel for its jet fuel and distillate customers. The plant will use sustainable ethanol as a feedstock.

The venture also received $10 million in backing from Japanese trading house Mitsui. In addition, All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be participating in the venture, although LanzaTech did not provide any details on its financial contribution. This funding will complement a US Department of Energy grant of $14 million.

Mark Little, Suncor CEO, said the companies "believe the technology will provide a solid foundation for the commercial production of SAF with growth potential in both North American and international markets."

If the plant meets all its economic and technical targets, Suncor and Mitsui are expected to make further investments in commercial production facilities, LanzaTech said.

Toru Matsui, Chief Operating Officer of Mitsui, added the partnership demonstrates the company's commitment to improving aviation sustainability while aligning with an ambition to be the first entity in Japan to produce SAF on a commercial scale.

Aviation is seen as one of the more difficult sectors to decarbonize, with the weight of batteries limiting their use in the segment.