Summit Next Gen to Build World's Largest SAF Plant

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by KnowESG
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Summit Agricultural Group has unveiled Summit Next Gen, a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production platform that aims to transform the aviation industry by offering an expandable source of low-carbon jet fuel.

The platform will utilise Honeywell's Ethanol to Jet technology to convert ethanol into SAF, addressing the challenge of decarbonising the aviation sector. Summit Next Gen will also provide an added market for low-carbon ethanol producers while advancing the sustainability objectives of the aviation industry.

The global aviation sector requires more than 100 billion gallons of jet fuel each year, and this demand is projected to double over the next two decades due to growing passenger numbers.

The limited supply of feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste oils, presents a challenge for the production of SAF as governments, businesses, and consumers demand low-carbon alternatives to conventional jet fuel.

The Ethanol to Jet (ETJ) process offers an effective and cost-competitive solution to this issue by producing SAF from ethanol. The efforts of ethanol producers, who have worked to lower their carbon footprint by implementing new technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and investing in efficiency improvements, have made this possible.

The rising demand for low-carbon alternatives, state-level initiatives, and incentives under the Inflation Reduction Act have fueled the growth of SAF markets. In response to this trend, Summit Next Gen was created to meet the rising demand for SAF. This biofuel is similar to traditional jet fuel and is currently approved for use at blend rates of up to 50% by ASTM International, providing a "drop-in fuel" solution for the aviation industry. The creation of Summit Next Gen is backed by the biofuels, energy, and aviation sectors, which strongly support the expansion of SAF.

According to Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Agricultural Group, "The creation of Summit Next Gen, in partnership with technology leader Honeywell UOP, represents a new standard for the agriculture, ethanol, and aviation industries. The agriculture and ethanol sectors have a strong track record of continuous improvement, achieving greater productivity with fewer resources. This has placed forward-thinking ethanol producers in an ideal position to help the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint."

Summit Next Gen has selected the US Gulf Coast region as the location for its facility, leveraging the area's abundant logistics and utility infrastructure. The company is currently working on engineering and design for the project and has partnered with Burns & McDonnell and Honeywell for its development. This transformative project promises to advance SAF production and offer a low-carbon solution to the aviation industry.

Barry Glickman, Vice President and General Manager of Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions, stated that using SAF instead of fossil fuels can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the aviation sector. He added that expanding the range of SAF feedstocks to include ethanol, biomass, and CO2 is crucial for increasing the proportion of SAF in total jet fuel demand. Honeywell is thrilled to work with Summit Next Gen, combining Honeywell UOP ETJ technology with Summit Agricultural Group's expertise in low-carbon biofuels to accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.

According to Summit Ag Investors President Justin Kirchhoff, "ETJ represents a logical progression for the ethanol industry." He believes that scale, production cost, and carbon footprint are the most critical factors for the SAF industry, and ethanol has a substantial advantage in these areas over existing SAF feedstocks.

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Source: Summit Agricultural Group

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