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Chevron and Gevo partner to produce sustainable aviation fuel

Oil giant Chevron USA and Gevo, a Douglas County, Colorado-headquartered renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, today announced a letter of intent to jointly invest in building and operating one or more new facilities that will process inedible corn to produce sustainable aviation fuel.

On September 9, as Electrek reported, major US airlines pledged to voluntarily make 3 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) available to US aircraft operators to reduce aviation emissions by 20% by 2030.

 Aviation fuel demand by 2050 is currently projected to be around 35 billion gallons per year, so there’s certainly going to be a huge demand for a lot of SAF.

Using its existing technology, Gevo will produce sustainable aviation fuel and renewable blending components for motor gasoline to lower its life cycle carbon intensity. Chevron will co-invest with Gevo in one or more projects, and it will have the right to sell around 150 million gallons of the SAF annually to market to customers.

The companies’ announcement does not yet detail where the SAF will be produced, or how much they will produce.

What’s SAF?

The US Department of Energy explains what SAF is:

SAF is a biofuel used to power aircraft that has similar properties to conventional jet fuel but with a smaller carbon footprint. Depending on the feedstock and technologies used to produce it, SAF can reduce life cycle GHG emissions dramatically compared to conventional jet fuel. Some emerging SAF pathways even have a net-negative GHG footprint.

Growing, sourcing, and producing SAF from renewable and waste resources can create new economic opportunities in farming communities, improve the environment, and even boost aircraft performance.

SAF can be made from the following:

  • Corn grain
  • Oil seeds
  • Algae
  • Other fats, oils, and greases
  • Agricultural residues
  • Forestry residues
  • Wood mill waste
  • Municipal solid waste streams
  • Wet wastes (manures, wastewater treatment sludge)
  • Dedicated energy crops

Check out this brief backgrounder video on SAF:

Read more: US airlines boost their 2030 target for sustainable aviation fuel by 50%

Photo: Gevo

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.