Sustainable aviation fuel prospects in Aus boosted by new partnership

Sustainable aviation fuel prospects in Aus boosted by new partnership

A biofuel production facility in Queensland, developed by Jet Zero Australia will lead the way in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Australia, using agricultural by-products like sugarcane in the process.

Investment from Qantas Group, Airbus and the Queensland government has helped get the project off the ground with the two airline heavyweights committing to $2 million initial investments, while QLD put $760,000 into the kitty.

The proposed facility will utilise LanzaJet’s world-leading alcohol-to-jet technology to produce up to 100 million litres of SAF per year. Construction is expected to start in 2024.

The Qantas Group and Airbus have committed to investing nearly $300 million to accelerate the establishment of a SAF industry in Australia, and the facility is the first in the new Qantas and Airbus Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership.

Sustainable fuels are the most significant tool airlines currently have to reduce their emissions, particularly given they can be used in today’s engines and fuel delivery infrastructure with no modifications.

Qantas Group chief sustainability officer, Andrew Parker, said the early project funding was an important first step towards building a domestic SAF industry, which will power flights around Australia.

“Qantas will be the largest single customer for Australian-made SAF to meet our emissions reduction targets, which is why we’re investing in the ideas and technology that will build a local SAF industry,” Parker said.

“This is one of several projects that we are looking to fund this year, all of which will help accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.”

Airbus executive VP, corporate affairs and sustainability, Julie Kitcher, said that all Airbus aircraft are already capable of flying with a SAF blend of up to 50 per cent.

“Ensuring a sustainable future for our industry is a priority for Airbus, working with partners across the world and from all sectors,” Kitcher said.

“There is a growing positive momentum around SAF, and it is now time to move from commitments to concrete actions. The selection of the first investment under our joint partnership with Qantas is an example of such action, with the potential to deliver SAF locally in Australia and to be a model for other locations around the world.”

The Qantas Group is currently purchasing SAF sourced overseas, including 10 million litres for flights out of London in 2023, and from 2025, 20 million litres per year for flights out of California.

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