The financing partnership will enable LanzaJet to bring its alcohol-to-jet, net-zero sustainable aviation fuels to commercial scale.
LanzaJet — a sustainable fuels technology company and renewable fuels producer launched in 2020 by carbon-recycling innovator LanzaTech — announced it has secured financing for its Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia, through the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund.
The Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund — also launched in 2020, as part of Microsoft’s commitment to become carbon-positive by 2030 — has made a $50M investment to support the construction of LanzaJet's (and the world's) first alcohol-to-jet sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plant. The financing will enable LanzaJet to bring lower-cost sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel to the global market.
LanzaJet is dedicated to accelerating the energy transition in sectors where decarbonization is hard, such as aviation and maritime. By working to commercialize SAF, LanzaJet creates regional jobs while enabling global decarbonization of the aviation sector. The LanzaJet process can use any source of low-carbon intensity, sustainable ethanol for fuel production.
This investment will also enable LanzaJet to catalyze the market for 2nd-generation, waste-based ethanol feedstock — demonstrating clear demand signals for ethanol that can achieve greater carbon and cost reductions. The Freedom Pines Fuels plant is expected to achieve mechanical completion this year and begin producing 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year from sustainable ethanol, including from waste-based feedstocks, in 2023.
"We know that creating the change which our world desperately needs requires perseverance, innovation and like-minded partnerships,” said LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis. “We are thrilled to bring on Microsoft and its Climate Innovation Fund to help us build our first-of-its-kind sustainable fuels plant in Georgia. The partnership with Microsoft is more than just financing — it advances our work towards net-zero fuels; enables lower-cost sustainable fuels into the market; and supports the urgency to have real, proven technologies scale-up and deploy."
Demand for sustainable fuels is increasing, and governments such as the US and the UK are leading the transition by encouraging sustainable fuel production. The Biden administration set a goal for achieving net-zero aviation emissions by 2050, and the EU aims to increase the amount of SAF blended to 63 percent by 2050. In September of 2021, the White House announced a target of 3 billion gallons of SAF produced per year by 2030. As part of that announcement, LanzaJet pledged to produce 1B gallons of SAF in the US by 2030, significantly supporting the ambitions of the country and the World Economic Forum’s Target True Zero initiative — a group of airlines that made fresh commitments on this front at COP26.
The investment was made as part of Microsoft's efforts to achieve its 2030 goal of becoming carbon negative and advancing a net-zero economy. It also allows Microsoft to access sustainable, renewable diesel for its data centers to enable the tech giant to further achieve its net-zero goals.
"With this investment, we support LanzaJet in creating new pathways to help companies across industries achieve net-zero carbon through the use of sustainable fuels,” said Brandon Middaugh, Director of Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund. “Decarbonizing hard-to-abate industries and technologies will be essential to achieving our carbon-reduction goals by 2030. We look forward to working with LanzaJet to accelerate the global development and deployment of high-quality, sustainable fuels technologies."
Private sector investment and government support are crucial to enabling the development and scale-up of new technologies to curb carbon emissions as the world works to avoid catastrophic climate change. The development of LanzaJet’s Freedom Pines Fuels plant is also supported by funding from the US Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office.