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The U.S. Gulf Coast facility will employ Honeywell's Ethanol to Jet processing technology.
Summit Agricultural Group has launched Summit Next Gen, a new venture focused on the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). By leveraging Honeywell's Ethanol to Jet (ETJ) processing technology, the platform will convert low-carbon ethanol into SAF, introducing a scalable supply of low-carbon jet fuel, and contributing to the decarbonization efforts of the aviation industry.
Currently, the aviation industry requires over 100 billion gallons of jet fuel every year, a figure that is projected to double over the next two decades in response to rising passenger demand. Despite growing calls for low-carbon alternatives to traditional jet fuel, the production of SAF has been hindered by an insufficient supply of feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste oils. The ETJ pathway offers a scalable and economically competitive solution, primarily due to the efforts of ethanol producers in minimizing their carbon footprints through innovative technologies like carbon capture and storage and efficiency-enhancing investments.
The establishment of Summit Next Gen was spurred by the expanding low-carbon markets, recent state-level initiatives, and incentives introduced under the Inflation Reduction Act. SAF is almost identical to petroleum-based jet fuel and is currently approved for blending rates of up to 50% by ASTM International, offering a 'drop-in fuel' solution.
Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Agricultural Group, stated, "The creation of Summit Next Gen and our partnership with a technology leader like Honeywell UOP sets a new standard for the agriculture, ethanol, and aviation industries. The continuous improvement in producing more with less by the agriculture and ethanol industries has favorably positioned forward-thinking ethanol producers to assist aviation in reducing its carbon footprint."
The Summit Next Gen facility will be located in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, offering logistical and utility infrastructure. The project's engineering and design phase is underway, with Burns & McDonnell and Honeywell chosen for the project's development. The new facility, expected to be operational by 2025, aims to produce over 250 million gallons of SAF per year. This level of production will make a substantial contribution to the aviation industry's goal of reducing its carbon emissions and moving towards more sustainable practices.
Barry Glickman, Vice President and General Manager of Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions, commented, "Replacing fossil fuels with SAF enables a material reduction in aviation-related GHG emissions. Expanding SAF feedstocks to include ethanol, biomass, and CO2 is essential to increasing the share of SAF of the total jet fuel demand."
Justin Kirchhoff, President of Summit Ag Investors, added, "ETJ is a natural next step for the ethanol industry. Scale, cost of production, and carbon footprint are the most important factors for the SAF industry, and we believe ethanol has a material advantage in these areas relative to existing SAF feedstocks."