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December 20, 2023

Recently, in an article that appeared in an agriculture newsletter from Heartland Bank, industry writer Stu Ellis writes about biofuels and the airline industry.

United Airlines formed a joint venture to develop and then commercialize Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) technology using ethanol as feedstock. United Airlines, Tallgrass, and Green Plains will invest up to a combined $50 million in the venture. The venture is called Blue Blade Technology and will produce up to 135 million gallons of ethanol based SAF annually. Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains, in an interview with Data Transmission Network (DTN), said the conversion rate is about 1.7 gallons of ethanol to produce each gallon of jet fuel.

That equates to just under 230 million gallons of ethanol that would go to SAF for the project each year. Becker says if the technology is successful, Blue Blade will begin building a pilot facility in 2024, followed by a full-scale facility that could begin operating in 2028. The agreement could provide enough sustainable aviation fuel to fly more than 50,000 flights every year between United’s hub airports in Chicago and Denver. If the technology is commercialized, the location of Blue Blade’s first plant would allow easier access to low-carbon feedstock from Green Plains’ Midwest ethanol production facilities. The technology will eventually work with any alcohol-based feedstock as a fuel source. United has also agreed to purchase up to 2.7 billion gallons of SAF produced from the joint venture.

This article may reference and link to third party information that has been verified to the best of our abilities. There is no guarantee of accuracy. Heartland Bank does not endorse companies, services, or products referenced in its articles and is not responsible for the content, links, privacy, or security policies of these third parties. Information in the above article may include material from Green Car Congress (https://www.greencarcongress.com/2023/02/20230201-blueblade.html) and the Heartland Bank weekly Ag Newsletter.