Anglo-Dutch oil major and lubricant producer Royal Dutch Shell has further extended its presence in the renewable fuels markets by investing in LanzaJet, a producer of bio-jet fuel.
With the aviation sector, like many others, looking to decarbonise in the coming years, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) presents an attractive option for cutting the emissions of existing fleets. This was 15 times more expensive than conventional aviation fuel five years ago, but this has since reduced to four times the price. Stringent specifications have also been an obstacle to cleaner jet fuel, with aircraft currently being limited to a 50/50 blend of conventional Jet A1 fuel and SAF.
LanzaJet is currently constructing a plant in Georgia, USA to produce around 10 million gallons of fuel a year using its alcohol-to-jet technology, which uses sustainable ethanol as its main feedstock. Up to 90% of the production will be SAF, which can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 70%, with the remainder being renewable diesel.
According to S&P Global, Shell Aviation’s President, Anna Mascolo, said about the investment:
“Our access to feedstocks, experience of optimizing 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.”
LanzaJet also said Shell would have the option in the coming years to invest in building larger facilities for production. It is expected that the increasing adoption of SAF by airlines will lead to it becoming more cost-competitive due to economies of scale and better production technologies.