SAF Magazine News

News from SAF Magazine Issue 2, 2023
By SAF Magazine | August 17, 2023

A bipartisan group of 21 federal lawmakers on July 28 sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging the Treasury Department to adopt the U.S. DOE's GREET model as the secondary methodology for calculating the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) tax credit.

According to the lawmakers, adoption of the GREET model would “dramatically enhance the effectiveness of existing [SAF] incentives and accelerate the aviation industry’s decarbonization efforts.”

The letter stresses that GREET “indisputably mirrors the criteria required by statute for a secondary methodology” and “offers the ability for SAF stakeholders to adopt emerging advancements and technological breakthroughs.” The lawmakers also note that adoption of the GREEET model “ensures that every participant involved in the SAF lifecycle has the opportunity to effectively engage in carbon-reducing practices.”

Within the letter, the highlights five specific justifications for the use of GREET.

Neste released second quarter financial results on July 27, reporting robust demand for renewable diesel and relatively stable feedstock pricing. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel sales were up 17% when compared to Q2 2022.

Renewable diesel and SAF sales volumes reached 946,000 tons during the quarter, up from 808,000 tons during the same period of 2022. Total renewable products sales volumes were at 957,000 tons, also up from last year. During the second quarter, approximately 60% of renewable products were sold into the European market, down from 71% during the second quarter of last year, while 40% were sold into the North American market, up from 29% last year.

Renewable diesel and SAF production had an average utilization rate of 107% nameplate capacity during the three-month period, up from 103% during the second quarter of 2022. The proportion of waste and residue feedstock was 96%, flat with the same period of last year.

Advanced Refining Technologies LLC, a joint venture of Chevron and specialty chemicals leader W. R. Grace & Co., have launched ENDEAVOR, a hydroprocessing catalyst solution to produce renewable diesel and SAF from 100% renewable sources, such as vegetable oils, refined oils, animal fats and greases. The catalysts are the culmination of an extensive R&D program and have already demonstrated top-tier performance in several refinery applications, according to Nathan Ergonul, ART’s managing director.

EarthDaily Agro, a division of geospatial analytics company EarthDaily Analytics, has been selected by leading renewable fuel developer Global Clean Energy Holdings Inc. and its subsidiary Sustainable Oils Inc. to support their work to increase the adoption of camelina in the renewable fuels marketplace through their Climate-Smart Camelina Project.

The multiyear contract is made possible by a $30 million USDA Climate-Smart Commodities Grant, which was awarded to Global Clean Energy for the purposes of developing camelina as an ultra-low carbon renewable fuel feedstock and building-associated, climate-smart renewable fuels markets. The initial project will focus on the western U.S., with plans to expand to other regions of the world deemed suitable to camelina production. Because camelina has not historically been a widely cultivated crop, EarthDaily Agro will produce the first full-cycle economic viability and production yield dataset to serve as the basis for mainstream cultivation and renewable fuel production.

Twelve has broken ground on its commercial-scale E-Jet fuel production facility in Moses Lake, Washington. The company marked the occasion with remarks by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington State Sen. Julie Warnick, and a panel conversation on SAF between Twelve cofounder and Chief Science Officer Etosha Cave, Alaska Airlines vice president of strategic sourcing & supply chain Ann Ardizzone, and senior director of Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund Brandon Middaugh. Twelve describes its E-Jet fuel as SAF produced using “Twelve’s revolutionary carbon transformation technology,” which requires only renewable energy and water to transform CO2 into critical chemicals, materials and fuels conventionally made from fossil fuels, in partnership with Emerging Fuels Technology. The Washington facility is expected to begin E-Jet fuel production in mid-2024 at a capacity of approximately 5 barrels per day (40,000 gallons per year), with plans to quickly increase production. Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, and Shopify will be the first customers to receive products from the Moses Lake plant under existing agreements.

Boeing has launched its SAF Dashboard, a tool that tracks expected SAF capacity over the next decade. The dashboard aggregates total SAF capacity announcements by suppliers on a global scale and can filter anticipated supply by production pathway, location and other metrics. The tool is accessible on Boeing's new Sustainable Aerospace Together hub.

The government of Japan is preparing to implement a mandate for SAF and take several other actions to support the production, supply and use of SAF within the country, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network.

The report explains that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on May 26 announced plans for SAF introduction and a SAF-focused biofuel target. A report issued by the agency calls for Japanese SAF suppliers to establish sufficient SAF manufacturing capacity and secure raw materials to produce it stably and at competitive prices. To stimulate domestic SAF production, the GAIN report indicates that METI plans to set a new target volume for SAF by 2030. This target would be separate from the recently published ethanol target of 500 million liters (132.09 million gallons) of crude oil equivalent for the transportation sector. Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism estimates that 1.7 billion liters of SAF would be required to replace 10% of the country’s jet fuel by 2030.

The Canadian government on May 31 announced plans to invest $86 million into a project that is converting an oil refinery located in Come By Chance, Newfoundland and Labrador, into a biorefinery that will produce renewable diesel and SAF.

The $86 million in federal funding, which is subject to final negotiations, was made possible through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Fuels Fund, and the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund.

When completed later this year, the Braya Renewable Fuels facility is expected to initially produce 18,000 barrels per day of low-carbon renewable fuel. The company later plans to expand capacity and enhance production of SAF.

Southwest Airlines Co. has been named a 2023 Sustainability, Environmental Achievement, and Leadership  Business Awards winner in the Environmental Initiative category for its investment in SAFFiRE Renewables LLC, a pilot project supporting the development and production of SAF. The SEAL Awards recognize and honor individual programs and initiatives that move the needle on environmental progress and demonstrate leadership toward a sustainable future.

In June 2022, Southwest announced its investment in SAFFiRE, a company formed by D3MAX LLC, as part of a U.S. DOE -backed project to develop and produce scalable SAF. The project is expected to utilize technology developed at the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory to convert corn stover into ethanol that would then be upgraded into SAF.

Sojitz Corp. and its subsidiary, Sojitz Corp. of America, and NEXT Renewable Fuels Inc. have entered into a strategic relationship whereby Sojitz has made an investment in NEXT. Following the investment, Sojitz and NEXT plan to work together to advance NEXT's proposed 750 MMgy renewable diesel and SAF facility at Port Westward, Oregon.

NEXT aims to produce sustainable fuels from biomass feedstocks like used cooking oil, animal tallow and waste vegetable oils, with the Port Westward facility expected to use HEFA technology. In addition to its SAF and renewable diesel facility, NEXT is exploring other clean fuel business opportunities, including producing clean hydrogen and renewable natural gas.

Sojitz is a Japanese conglomerate trading and investment company that has strength in the aviation field, including a more than 60-year relationship representing Boeing in the Japanese market.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners L.P.  subsidiary Montana Renewables completed ramp up of unit operations and delivered the successful startup of a feedstock pretreatment unit during the second quarter of 2023. The Great Falls, Montana-based facility produces renewable diesel and SAF. Calumet discussed plant operations during a second quarter update released July 10.

According to Calumet, Montana Renewables is now the largest producer of SAF in North America. The feedstock pretreatment unit was developed by Applied Research Associates Inc. ARA announced the successful startup of the hydrothermal cleanup pretreatment unit on May 31, noting the unit can process 10,000 barrels per day of low-carbon-intensity waste fat, oil and grease feedstocks with near 100% yield of clean organic product. According to Calumet, Montana Renewables is entering the third quarter running 12,500 barrels per day of renewable feedstock. The company said feedstock mix is currently 8,000 barrels per day of untreated and 4,500 barrels per day of treated safety stock as the facility rotates from clean to dirty inventory.

Approximately 50% of Montana Renewables' renewable diesel production is being sold into Canada, while all of the SAF production is being delivered to Shell Aviation. The company previously reported that initial SAF capacity will be in the range of 2,000 to 4,000 barrels per day. It is also considering a pivot to what it calls max-SAF, which would expand total renewables capacity to 18,000 barrels per day, including 15,000 barrels per day of SAF.