The technology developed to produce renewable diesel for road transportation can also be used to produce other renewables – like sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), renewable and recycled plastics, and renewable chemicals. Why is this important? The International Air Transport Association member airlines have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The use of SAF realizes the significant majority of this commitment. Carbon capture and storage and carbon offsets will also contribute significantly, and new propulsion technology (such as hydrogen) and efficiency improvement will account for the remainder. Since SAF has chemical properties almost identical to conventional jet fuel, it can be blended up to 50% with traditional jet fuel with no modifications required to the design of the airplane. It can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% and can be produced from 100% renewable waste and residue feedstocks.
There are many commonly known and promising technologies. For SAF, technologies include hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis that converts biomass and waste feedstocks into liquid fuels, alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) which converts alcohols like ethanol in jet fuels, and hydrothermal liquefaction which converts biomass into a crude oil like substance that can be further processed into jet fuel. In Renewable Diesel, technologies include hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVA), biomass-to-liquid (BTL) where biomass feedstocks are converted into a synthetic diesel-like fuel, and catalytic hydroprocessing which uses catalysts to transform feedstocks into renewable diesel. The evidence shows that the world recognizes the value of renewable diesel’s circular economy in recycling the world’s trash as new policies and mandates show continued dedication to increasing the use of these fuels and to the continued development of new technologies. Understanding that securing the cheapest feedstock, transporting it to a plant that has the best SAF and renewable diesel technology to convert, and shipping the renewable diesel to the place that offers the highest incentives and has growing market demand are the keys to meaningful returns and margins on renewable diesel and SAF.
For over 25 years, Lee Enterprises Consulting’s 150+ experts have provided a wide range of services in bioenergy, biomaterials and chemicals, biotechnologies, and feedstocks. We certainly have specialists in SAF and renewable diesel, and many other biofuels and the technologies for them. Take a look at our experts and the services we provide. You will note that most of our experts are also available for ancillary engagements and advice for specialty engagements like serving as expert witnesses in litigation matters. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.