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US group selects technology partners for SAF project

26th April 2024

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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US clean fuels company DG Fuels has selected a technology, jointly developed by UK multinational advanced metals chemistry and sustainable technologies group Johnson Matthey and UK multinational energy group bp, for its first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plant.

The technology uses the Fischer Tropsch (FT) process and is called FT CANS.

“Unlike slurry reactors, the Johnson Matthey DAVY/bp fixed-bed FT CANS reactor has no moving parts and requires no continuous catalyst addition or separation,” explains Johnson Matthey, on its website.

“Instead, the proprietary bp catalyst runs at constant conditions and delivers a high-purity product that is easy to upgrade. All these factors amount to a simple and robust process with a high level of reliability and product quality.”

The $4-billion DG Fuels facility will be the biggest Fischer Tropsch SAF production plant in the world. It will be located in St James Parish in the US state of Louisiana. (A parish in Louisiana is equivalent to a county in other US states.)

The facility is scheduled to start production in 2028 and when fully operational will produce 600 000 metric tons a year of SAF. The feedstock will be sugar cane waste, of which 33% will be purchased from farmers in St James Parish. The plant’s annual expenditure on purchasing this feedstock will total $120-million.

“Using Johnson Matthey and bp’s co-developed [FT CANS] technology allows DG Fuels to scale SAF at high volume production and competitive prices for the first time ever,” emphasises DG Fuels CEO Michael Darcy.

“This innovation will take DG Fuels’ SAF from the sugar cane fields of Louisiana to cleaner skies all across the world.”

The company already has multiyear offtake agreements with major global carriers Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines. It also has a strategic partnership with airliner manufacturer Airbus, to facilitate the deployment of SAF at scale, around the world.

“The size of this project is truly exciting and would help take the industry closer to wide-scale use of SAF,” affirms Johnson Matthey Catalyst Technologies CE Maurits van Tol. “DG Fuels has ambitious plans and the fact it has secured agreements with major airlines demonstrates there is appetite in the market. Our FT CANS technology enables cost-effective deployment across a wide range of project sizes. We look forward to working with DG Fuels as a long-term partner for SAF production.”

“The aviation industry is looking to greatly increase its use of SAF, and we’re proud that DG Fuels has selected our technology to be at the heart of their ambitious plans for large-scale SAF production,” highlighted bp VP: technology development and commercialisation Noemie Turner. “Our FT CANS technology solution brings together decades of science and engineering expertise from bp and [Johnson Matthey], and this project shows its competitiveness across the range of production scales and feedstock sources the industry needs.”

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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