British Airways is among the investors in a $200 million plant that will make sustainable aviation fuel from ethanol derived from corn. The plant officially opened in rural Georgia last week and will produce about 10 million gallons of jet fuel and diesel. As electric cars and trucks displace gasoline-powered vehicles there will be massive excess capacity in ethanol plants that now supply an average of 10 percent of the volume of pump gasoline. It’s relatively straightforward to convert the alcohol to diesel and SAF, and the notion has also attracted investment from Suncor, a Canadian oil sands petroleum producer.
President Joe Biden has set a target of producing three billion gallons of SAF by 2030 and corn won’t be the only feedstock. A California company says it will make 61 million gallons of SAF from sugarcane. The plant covers 160 acres and will get its raw materials from farms in the Imperial Valley. It will also produce ethanol for gasoline blending, renewable natural gas, renewable diesel, electricity, CO2 and hydrogen.