The award follows an initiative Gevo took part in to supply aircraft at Brisbane Airport (BNE), QLD, with blended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) through the airport’s general fuel supply system. Gevo’s participation in the trial, which finished in 2019 and also involved Virgin Australia and the Queensland government, has led to the state being considered as the location for the company’s first biorefinery outside of the US.
Gevo’s process involves fractionating grain from sustainably produced crops to produce protein and animal feed while using the residual carbohydrate portion of the grain for fermentation to produce isobutanol. This is then chemically transformed using a hydrocarbon processing facility into renewable gasoline, diesel and SAF. As well as substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the company says its SAF has very low sulphur, low particulates and a slightly higher energy density than petroleum-based jet fuel. Gevo says the Queensland project will evaluate the most likely second-generation biomass to carbohydrate conversion process to use in conjunction with its process.
The Queensland W2B Fund provided AUD 5 million on an up to 50% co-funding basis in 2019 to support projects in the state. Since the funding announcement, Gevo has signed a Heads of Agreement with Shell fuels supplier Viva Energy Australia. They will work together to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of converting regionally-sourced biomass into renewable carbons, including SAF.