Shell invests in LanzaJet, accelerating ATJ sustainable jet fuel as it hurtles towards commercial deployment

April 6, 2021 |

From Illinois, news arrives that Shell has invested in LanzaJet, to scale the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Shell joins founding investors LanzaTech, Suncor Energy Inc., Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and in recent months British Airways joined as an investor and  LJ has a n extensive collaboration in place also with All Nippon Airways.

There could be more. In addition to its initial investment in LanzaJet and similar to the phased investment approach used with all of the LanzaJet investors, Shell will have the opportunity to make further investments in the construction of larger-scale production facilities over the coming years. This phased investment approach significantly accelerates the timeline of commercial deployment, and comes as LanzaJet continues its work to build the first-of-kind, commercial-scale plant (10 million gallons per year capacity) in Soperton, Georgia, USA. Development at Freedom Pines Fuels continues on schedule with operations beginning in 2022, LanzaJet has informed us.

The competitive edge

LanzaJet’s technology is uniquely able to produce up to 90% of its fuels as SAF, with the remaining 10% as renewable diesel. That’s key for SAF-oriented investors.

The Big LanzaJet backstory

LanzaJet was launched in June 2020 following nearly a decade of technology development and commercial scale-up through a partnership by LanzaJet’s founder, LanzaTech, with the U.S Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The LanzaJet process can use any source of sustainable ethanol for jet fuel production, including, but not limited to, ethanol made from recycled pollution, the core application of LanzaTech’s carbon recycling platform. Here are some links of interest:

The FLITE consortium to build the first-of-kind LanzaJet facility.
LanzaTech’s launch, and underlying technology.
The British Airways investment
The Parent Tech: Multi-Slide Guide to LanzaTech
9 Constellations to Watch in the Race to SAF


LanzaJet’s SAF is approved to be blended up to 50% with fossil jet fuel, the maximum allowed by ASTM, and is a drop-in fuel that requires no modifications to engines, aircraft, and infrastructure. Additionally, LanzaJet’s SAF delivers more than a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, compared to conventional fossil jet fuel. The versatility in ethanol, and a focus on low-carbon, waste-based, and non-food /non-feed sources, along with ethanol’s global availability, make LanzaJet’s technology a relevant and enduring solution for SAF. 

Reaction from the stakeholders

 President, Shell Aviation President Anna Mascolo said:  “LanzaJet’s technology opens up a new and exciting pathway to produce SAF using an AtJ process and will help address the aviation sector’s urgent need for SAF. It demonstrates that the industry can move faster and deliver more when we all work together. Provided industry, government and society collaborate on appropriate policy mechanisms and regulations to drive both supply and demand, aviation can achieve net-zero carbon emissions. The strategic fit with LanzaJet is exciting. Through our Raízen joint venture in Brazil, we have been producing bioethanol for over ten years, and we have already demonstrated production of cellulosic ethanol from waste materials. Our access to feedstocks, experience of optimizing supply chains and extensive sales and marketing business will hopefully contribute to LanzaJet creating sustainable, robust and scalable commercial operations, supporting our customers’ decarbonization ambitions for many years to come.” 

LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis, said”: We’ve been at a crossroads for years and we’re now at a point in time when real solutions matter to address the global need to get to net zero. At LanzaJet, we’re in a unique position with technology that is ready and scaling today to produce lower-carbon, sustainable fuels. Shell’s investment and partnership helps to further advance our work to do our part to decarbonize aviation globally, a sector with limited other options in the near- and mid-term.” 

LanzaJet Board Chair and LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren, said: “We have an outstanding group of investors, leading in the energy transition and working across industries to reduce carbon emissions. I am delighted to welcome Shell to the LanzaJet family as we work together to realize our ambition of producing significant volumes of SAF from wastes to help the aviation sector meet their carbon reduction goals.” 

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