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Biobased Chemicals

Air Products and World Energy to build $2 billion California sustainable jet fuel plant

by Craig Bettenhausen
April 30, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 15


Air Products and the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) firm World Energy will spend $2 billion to convert a 100-year-old asphalt plant in Southern California into what they say will be the world’s first commercial-scale SAF production facility. Using a process developed by Honeywell, the plant will upgrade oils such as used fry grease to 1.3 billion L per year of jet fuel. Biofuel consultant Will Thurmond says the average size of existing SAF plants worldwide is around 100 million L per year. “Two billion dollars is also a significant amount of capital in the SAF space,” he says. Air Products’ main role will be to provide hydrogen—which is used to convert diesel, an intermediate in the process—to jet fuel. In addition to building new H2 capacity, Air Products will connect World Energy to its H2 pipeline network in the region. The firms say the full-life-cycle emissions of fuel made at the plant will be 80% lower than those of petroleum-derived jet fuel. They plan to switch the plant to green or blue hydrogen in the future to reduce emissions even further.


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