UK government funding SAF plant

The world’s first commercial-scale factory to transform waste gases into sustainable jet fuel is closer to reality with a cash infusion from the UK government.

LanzaTech UK Ltd. has received a £25 million (US$31 million) grant from the UK Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund Competition for its DRAGON facility project. DRAGON stands for Decarbonizing and Reimagining Aviation for the Goal Of Netzero and will convert waste gases into synthetic kerosene for use in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

With the funding, Project DRAGON, in collaboration with Fluor Corporation and Technip Energies, will complete the engineering and project development required to reach a final investment decision (FID) for the entire waste gas to SAF project.

LanzaTech have selected Fluor Corporation, a leading global engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm, to provide Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) services for this part of the project. “With more than 110 years in the industry, Fluor brings world class front-end engineering and EPC firm experience to assist LanzaTech in deploying its technology,” said Jason Kraynek, president, Production & Fuels, Fluor Corporation.

The proposed plant, which will be sited in Port Talbot, South Wales, is expected to produce 102 million litres per year of ATJ Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK) to be blended with kerosene to make SAF, representing about 1% of annual UK jet fuel demand and making a significant contribution towards the UK Mandate for supplying 10% of total annual jet fuel demand in the U.K. with SAF by 2030.

The feedstock for the planned facility would be waste gases, including potentially from Tata Steel’s adjacent steelworks in Port Talbot. These would be transformed via LanzaTech’s gas fermentation platform to make ethanol as a feedstock for the ATJ facility.

“Delivering 10% SAF in 2030 requires a UK SAF industry at scale,” said Holly Boyd-Boland, VP Corporate Development at Virgin Atlantic. “Today’s award of the DFT’s Advanced Fuel Fund will take us a step closer to proving the technology works and attracting the private investment needed to finance these plants. Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech have a long history of collaboration on SAF, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to produce, purchase and fly SAF from the UK.”

In a second step the ethanol would be turned into SAF using the LanzaJet Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) process, which incorporates Technip Energies ‘ethanol to ethylene’ Hummingbird™ technology. This would be the world’s first commercial scale integration of Gas Fermentation (GF) and ATJ to produce SAF with GHG reductions expected to be greater than 70% relative to conventional jet fuel.

“LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet technology paired with LanzaTech’s gas fermentation process is changing how we think about the circular economy across the world and driving decarbonization for aviation,” said Jimmy Samartzis, CEO, LanzaJet.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with LanzaTech on this work and we’re grateful for this support from the UK Department for Transport.”

The Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF) Competition was established to support the UK advanced fuels sector in development and commercial deployment of innovative fuel production technologies that are capable of significantly reducing near-term UK aviation emissions, strengthening the UK project pipeline, and broadening technology options.

LanzaTech UK Ltd. is a subsidiary of LanzaTech NZ, Inc., a Carbon Capture and Transformation (CCT) company.