CORDIS - EU research results

Fuel via Low Carbon Integrated Technology from Ethanol

Project description

Converting municipal waste into jet fuel

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is critical to reducing emissions from the aviation sector. The European Commission Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and the legislative initiative ReFuelEU Aviation set ambitious targets on the path to net-zero emissions for the aviation industry. The EU-funded FLITE project consortium plans to build the first-of-its-kind alcohol-to-jet facility in Europe. The 30 000 tonnes per annum pre-commercial scale facility will convert waste-based ethanol to SAF. Led by SkyNRG, a global market leader for SAF solutions, the project considers ethanol the ideal SAF feedstock since it can be produced from diverse and abundant resources (including residues from agriculture, forestry, industry and even municipal waste).


The most recent IPCC report paints a stark picture of our changing climate and the urgency of action to reduce emissions in every sector of the economy. While light-duty road transport can decarbonize through electrification, aviation will continue to require energy dense liquid fuels for the foreseeable future. If we are to decarbonize aviation, it must be through low-carbon fuels that can be made from abundant, sustainable sources that do not increase pressure on land or food.

The Fuel via Low Carbon Integrated Technology from Ethanol (FLITE) consortium (LanzaTech, SkyNRG, E4tech, RSB, and Fraunhofer) proposes to expand the supply of low carbon jet fuel in Europe by designing, building, and demonstrating an innovative ethanol-based Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) technology in an ATJ Advanced Production Unit (ATJ-APU). The ATJ-APU will produce jet blendstocks from non-food/non-feed ethanol with over 70% GHG reductions relative to conventional jet. The Project will demonstrate >1000 hours of operations and production of >30,000 metric tonnes of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, and supports the European Advanced Biofuel Flightpath objectives of getting SAFs to the market faster and using 2 million tonnes of aviation biofuels by 2020.

Ethanol is the ideal SAF feedstock as it can be produced from diverse and abundant resources, including residues from agriculture, forestry, and industry – and even from municipal waste. More low carbon ethanol technologies are being developed in Europe and elsewhere, while at the same time greater electric vehicle penetration reduces ethanol demand. Ethanol-based SAF offers an opportunity to divert sustainable carbon from road transport – which can be electrified – to aviation, which cannot. This strategy will expand the ethanol market and meet aviation’s low carbon fuel needs. The diversity of ethanol sources offers the potential to produce cost-competitive SAF, accelerating uptake by commercial airlines and paving the way for implementation.

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Net EU contribution
€ 894 965,35
1093 NJ Amsterdam

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

West-Nederland Noord-Holland Groot-Amsterdam
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 1 278 521,93

Participants (6)