SAF Producer Optimistic On Direction Of Industry

Wisconsin corn farmers were disappointed by a U.S. Department of Treasury decision that will limit ethanol’s contribution to low-carbon jet fuel. The update says that corn-based ethanol must be grown with additional on-farm conservation practices to apply for tax credits.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel producer Gevo says the industry is still ready to grow.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is an alternative fuel that can power aircraft and has a smaller carbon footprint than conventional jet fuel.

Kathy Bergren, director of federal government relations at Gevo, says the company is building an SAF facility in South Dakota and has plans to bring more online. Gevo also has a tool for farmers to use to measure the carbon footprint of their corn.

SAF is made from renewable biomass, such as corn, fats/oils/greases, or wood mill/forestry waste.

Airplanes are running on SAF today. Regulations allow for up to a 50 percent blend of SAF with traditional jet fuel. Bergren says production is pretty low, but Gevo is seeing huge demand from airlines, which is why it’s growing its production facilities.

Gevo has contracts with several airlines totaling more than 300 million gallons. That’s more than Gevo is producing. So in addition to building its own facilities, it’s also looking into unique partnerships with existing ethanol facilities to meet the demand for SAF, Bergren says.

She advises Wisconsin farmers to watch for these opportunities, especially if they are already a low-carbon corn grower.

Bergren says there are only a handful of production facilities in the U.S. California is home to SAF producers that turn fats and vegetable oils into jet fuel. There’s a new facility in Georgia turning ethanol into jet fuel. Companies have been making commitments to expand near the Gulf Coast as well.

See a recent story on the updates from the U.S. Department of Treasury on corn’s role in SAF production: