Shell invests in US sustainable aviation fuel start-up LanzaJet

The investment comes as the company continues its work to develop the first Alcohol-to-Jet facility of its kind, a commercial-scale plant with 10m gallons per year capacity

Big Zero Report 2023

Shell has invested in US start-up LanzaJet to support the company in accelerating the commercialisation of its production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The investment comes as the start-up continues its work to develop the first Alcohol-to-Jet (AtJ) facility of its kind, a commercial-scale plant with 10 million gallons per year capacity, in Soperton, Georgia.

The launch of LanzaJet in June 2020 follows nearly a decade of technology development and commercial scale-up through a partnership by LanzaJet’s founder – LanzaTech, with the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The LanzaJet process can use any source of sustainable ethanol for jet fuel production, including ethanol made from recycled pollution, the core application fo LanzaTech’s carbon recycling platform.

Its technology is said to be uniquely able to produce up to 90% of its fuels 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 the existing supply routes.

LanzaJet claims its SAF delivers more than a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, compared to conventional fossil jet fuel.

Anna Mascolo, President, Shell Aviation said: “LanzaJet’s technology opens up a new and exciting pathway to produce SAF using an AtJ process and will help address the aviation sector’s urgent need for SAF. It demonstrates that the industry can move faster and deliver more when we all work together. Provided industry, government and society collaborate on appropriate policy mechanisms and regulations to drive both supply and demand, aviation can achieve net zero carbon emissions. The strategic fit with LanzaJet is exciting.

“Through our Raízen joint venture in Brazil, we have been producing bioethanol for over 10 years and we have already demonstrated production of cellulosic ethanol from waste materials. Our access to feedstocks, experience of optimising supply chains and extensive sales and marketing business will hopefully contribute to LanzaJet creating sustainable, robust and scalable commercial operations, supporting our customers’ decarbonisation ambitions for many years to come.”

Shell joins founding investors including Suncor Energy, Mitsui & Co and more recently British Airways as well as participation from All Nippon Airways.

Make sure you check out the latest Net Hero Podcast episode: