U.S. FAA awards US$3M contract to industrial biology company LanzaTech to accelerate commercial availability of alternative aviation fuel using alcohol, chemicals from waste gas
December 1, 2011
– LanzaTech has received a US$3 million contract from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), through the Department of Transportation's John A. Volpe Center, to accelerate commercial availability of the next generation of alternative aviation fuel.
LanzaTech's unique, clean energy technology enables low cost production of sustainable alcohols and chemicals from waste gas resources that are completely outside the food value chain.
These alcohols are then converted, using technology from LanzaTech's partner Swedish Biofuels, to jet fuel that is fully equivalent to petroleum jet fuel, or that can be blended with petroleum.
Dr Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech's chief executive, says the program will accelerate the commercialization of alcohol to jet (ATJ) technologies by providing critical fuel data and assessing US production opportunities.
"We will introduce new fuel feedstock resources that can be used to enable both military and civilian aviation sectors to meet their carbon and cost goals, " Dr Holmgren says.
This project will use heavy industry gases and synthesis gas derived from lignin, a byproduct of cellulosic ethanol. The use of lignin opens up a new biomass waste stream for making economic jet fuel.
LanzaTech will be joined by both Imperium and Battelle in Richland, Washington, which will assess potential US commercial production sites and resources. Michigan Technological University will assess the life cycle benefits of the integration process.
A key goal of the project is to produce 100+ gallons of alternative jet fuel for testing by the US Air Force Research Laboratory. Test data will be used as part the certification process for alcohol to jet (ATJ) fuels.
Professor Angelica Hull, Managing Director of Swedish Biofuels, says the project aims to increase the raw material base for the production of alternative fuels in aviation.
"The pathway to jet fuel with alcohol as an intermediate is proving to be a versatile way of producing advanced hydrocarbon fuels," she says.
John Plaza, CEO of Imperium, says with FAA providing this grant to this consortium of industry leaders significant progress can be made toward the certification of ATJ, with near term viable commercial production pathways," he says.
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