Green Plains, Tallgrass, PNNL win DOE funding for SAF technology

By Green Plains Inc. | September 07, 2022

Green Plains Inc., Tallgrass, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on Sept. 6 announced they have been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) technology as part of the federal agency’s effort to support the development of valuable biofuels and bioproducts for the clean energy economy.

“Developing and deploying new technologies to produce sustainable aviation fuel is part of Green Plains’ ongoing transformation and this grant will help fund catalyst optimization which can lead to a pilot facility and beyond,” said Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains. “We believe the PNNL technology can be a game changer in efficiently converting low-carbon alcohol to sustainable aviation fuel.”

The DOE award will support Green Plains and Tallgrass in funding the demonstration of an innovative process developed by PNNL to convert ethanol to SAF via ketone intermediates, a critical step in proving the scalability of the technology. Green Plains and Tallgrass currently hold the option to exclusively license the PNNL SAF technology globally. They will jointly pursue the production of SAF from cellulosic and corn ethanol and intend to commercialize PNNL’s production process upon successful completion of the pilot project.

“New alcohol-to-jet pathways are necessary to achieve the ambitious volume targets for SAF, and our rapidly-evolving biorefinery platform is well positioned to help meet and exceed these targets,” added Becker. “Our collaboration with Tallgrass and our work with PNNL on state-of-the-art technologies positions Green Plains at the forefront of SAF commercialization which is supported by the expansion of policy to economically develop and deploy novel SAF technology.”

“This partnership represents the type of cross-industrial collaboration that is required to achieve meaningful decarbonization rapidly,” said Matt Sheehy, president and CEO of Tallgrass. “At Tallgrass we believe it is critical to develop and invest in the infrastructure to produce and transport the next generation of clean fuels. We are excited to work alongside Green Plains and PNNL to advance this pioneering SAF production technology and the infrastructure to commercialize large-scale SAF production.”