By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Tech firm Honeywell International Inc will roll out technology that could increase supplies of lower-carbon aviation fuel produced from ethanol, the company said on Monday, as the Biden administration calls for the aviation industry to reduce emissions.
Honeywell’s technology can increase production efficiency of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to lower costs. The airline sector is considered one of the most difficult to decarbonize as fuel cannot be easily replaced with other kinds of power. Oil refiners have been trying to increase production of SAF to try to lower emissions.
“As demand for SAF has increased, we’ve been looking at different ways to make more SAF economically that people can adopt and adopt at large-scale and produce to displace significant fractions of the jet and diesel pools,” Kevin O’Neil, senior business leader for renewable fuels at Honeywell UOP, said.
The company says, depending on the type of ethanol feedstock used, that its technology can cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% on a total lifecycle basis compared with petroleum-based jet fuel. Ethanol is primarily made from corn in the United States.
SAF plants using Honeywell’s technology can be modularized offsite, enabling lower costs and faster and less labor-intensive installation, the company’s news release said.
Through this approach, producers can build new SAF capacity more than a year faster than traditional construction, the release said.
The new technology would also enable oil refiners and other fuel producers to convert current or idle facilities into SAF production plants, it said.
In September 2021, the Biden administration launched an effort to boost output to at least 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030 and have enough SAF by 2050 “to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand, currently projected to be around 35 billion gallons a year.”
The recent Inflation Reduction Act, a climate bill that includes incentives for lower-carbon fuels, is also likely to accelerate demand for SAF feedstocks.
Many producers have chosen to make sustainable aviation fuel from feedstocks with lower carbon-intensity, such as grease and animal fat.
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Chris Reese)