US aerospace technology company Honeywell recently unveiled a new ethanol-to-jet fuel technology that could create a new revenue stream for ethanol producers, while helping to meet the growing need for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Demand for SAF is on the rise, spurred by various initiatives such as the EU’s 'Fit for 55' package which aims to achieve a share of at least 63% for sustainable fuels at EU airports by 2050. At the same time, supplies of traditional feedstocks for SAF, like vegetable oils, animal fats and waste oils, are limited, the company pointed out, adding that ethanol is a widely available, economically viable feedstock. 

The technology enables producers to process ethanol made from corn, grains or sugar cane, as well as cellulosic ethanol, into jet fuel, and reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% compared to petroleum-based jet fuel, Honeywell estimates.

The technology allows for the use of a modular construction approach, which speeds up the delivery of new SAF capacity. The design is also intended to facilitate the conversion of current or idle petroleum refining facilities into SAF plants so that greater use can be made of existing sites to respond to the growing SAF demand.