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On Thursday, sustainable fuels and related technologies maker LanzaJet announced that it has received financial for its Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia through the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund. The billion-dollar fund has made a $50 million investment to support the construction of LanzaJet’s plant, which is set to become the world’s first alcohol-to-jet sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plant.

According to a statement from the company, the investment also creates the opportunity for LanzaJet and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund to work together in enabling LanzaJet, through the Freedom Pines Fuels plant, to catalyze the market for 2nd generation, waste-based ethanol feedstock, demonstrating clear demand signals for ethanol that can achieve greater carbon reductions.

“We know that creating the change which our world desperately needs requires perseverance, innovation, and like-minded partnerships,” LanzaJet CEO Jimmy Samartzis said in a comment on the investment. “We are thrilled to bring on Microsoft and its Climate Innovation Fund to help us build our first-of-its-kind sustainable fuels plant in Georgia. The partnership with Microsoft is more than just financing – it advances our work towards net zero fuels, it enables lower-cost sustainable fuels into the market, and it supports the urgency to have real, proven technologies scale-up and deploy.

“We set a bold ambition to support the White House with a goal of 1 billion gallons of sustainable fuels by 2030. With Microsoft’s support, this first plant significantly expands the production of sustainable fuels in the US, establishes Georgia as a leader in cleantech, and is the foundation for us as the first alcohol-to-jet sustainable fuels producer, and as a blueprint for the commercial plants we’re developing globally,” Samartzis said.

The investment has also drawn plaudits from elected officials.

“LanzaJet is adding to Georgia’s growing sustainability ecosystem with the development of their aviation fuel and renewable diesel products,” said Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp. “We congratulate LanzaJet, Microsoft, Soperton, and Treutlen County on this innovative opportunity. We’re proud that they’re growing in Georgia’s pro-business environment, and we look forward to working with them to support their production goals in the future.”

“This is good news for Georgia. My vision remains that Georgia should lead the nation in clean energy and renewable energy technology — including sustainable aviation fuels. I brought the Secretary of Energy to visit the LanzaJet site last year, and I will continue working to promote clean energy technology and create Georgia jobs,” U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff said.

LanzaJet says construction at Freedom Pines Fuels is progressing as planned, even with supply chain, manufacturing, and labor shortages impacting the global economy. Fabrication of the plant is well underway; some modules are already completed and final site engineering is nearing completion. The plant is expected to achieve mechanical completion this year and begin producing 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year from sustainable ethanol, including from waste-based feedstocks, in 2023.
The investment was made as part of Microsoft’s efforts to achieve its 2030 goal of becoming carbon negative and advancing a net-zero economy. It also allows Microsoft to access sustainable, renewable diesel for its data centers to enable Microsoft to further achieve its net-zero goals.
LanzaJet says demand for sustainable fuels is increasing, and governments like those in the United States and the United Kingdom are leading the transition by encouraging sustainable fuel production. The Biden administration set a goal for achieving net-zero aviation emissions by 2050, with the EU aiming increase the amount of SAF blended to 63 percent by 2050. In September of 2021, the White House announced a target of 3 billion gallons of SAF produced per year by 2030. As part of that announcement, LanzaJet shared it would strive to achieve 1B gallons of SAF production in the US by 2030, significantly supporting US ambitions.
The company says private sector investment and government support are crucial to enabling the development and scale-up of new technologies to curb carbon emissions as the world tackles climate change. The collaboration between LanzaJet and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund demonstrates that such an innovative investment approach breaks down barriers by deploying new technologies, improves our nation’s infrastructure, and creates new economic opportunities in rural communities. The development of LanzaJet’s Freedom Pines Fuels plant is also supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office.
LanzaJet continues to work with its founding investors to scale the production of sustainable fuels to meet global demand and to enable the energy transition underway. Microsoft’s financial support joins other LanzaJet funders including LanzaTech, Inc., Suncor Energy, Mitsui, British Airways, Shell, and All Nippon Airways in the pursuit of sustainable fuels.

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