Bill Gates’ foundation has given its own backed startup, Breakthrough Energy, $50 million to create a large refinery as its first Catalyst project that produces sustainable aviation fuel from alcohol.
LanzaJet announced last Wednesday that it had obtained funding from the Gates-led Breakthrough Energy fund to continue constructing its first commercial plant in Soperton, Georgia.
The Freedom Pines Fuel Plant in Soperton is scheduled to begin production in 2023. When fully operational, the plant will produce nine million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel and one million gallons of renewable diesel each year, according to LanzaJet.
According to LanzaJet, the funding will assist the company reach its development deadline for the plant, almost double the amount of sustainable aviation fuel produced in the United States.
“Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is a new way for the private sector to accelerate the clean energy transition by funding projects that will ensure essential climate solutions get to market on the timeline the world needs,” explains Rodi Guidero, Executive Director, Breakthrough Energy & Managing Partner, Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
“LanzaJet’s new sustainable aviation fuel plant could play a vital role in decarbonizing aviation while demonstrating how the jobs and businesses of the clean energy economy can power communities. We’re grateful to Catalyst’s partners, who understand climate leadership means supporting the technologies that will eliminate emissions and that solving our climate challenges will require nothing less than mobilizing the world’s economic engine to build a net-zero future,” he added.
LanzaJet makes the fuel from ethanol derived from sugarcane and wasted corn. The business claims it will reduce emissions by at least 70% compared to traditional aviation fuel.
Bill Gates launched Breakthrough Energy to encourage research and investment in renewable energy technology. According to Bloomberg, the $50 million gift comes from Microsoft Corporation, BlackRock Foundation, Builders Vision, and Gates.
LanzaJet has already garnered millions of dollars in funding, including a $14 million grant from the US Department of Energy and a total of $200 million from supporters like British Airways and Shell, according to Bloomberg. In January, Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, which Gates founded, contributed another $50 million to the project.