A new bioenergy campus in California’s Imperial Valley, called Sugar Valley Energy (SVE), is set to produce up to 61 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) annually, according to California Ethanol + Power CEO and President David Rubenstein. The move will help the aviation industry achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as SAF produces up to 80% fewer lifecycle carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel.
The 160-acre biorefinery campus, which is currently in its final stage of development, will also produce low-carbon sugarcane ethanol for transportation fuels blending, renewable natural gas (RNG), renewable diesel (RD), electricity, CO2, hydrogen, and local wastewater treatment connections to benefit regional businesses and residents.
The project is expected to support as many as 15,000 jobs during construction and the first year of operation, as well as approximately 2,000 agricultural jobs at full scale feedstock production. SVE’s sugarcane feedstock will be grown locally and fully contracted with nearby Imperial Valley farmers, with the company developing a robust long-term feedstock program.
The EPA has approved a pathway to make SAF and Renewable Diesel from sugarcane ethanol, making SVE’s ethanol from sugarcane the lowest carbon intensity of all feedstocks for sustainable aviation fuel in California. SVE’s SAF will employ alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology, a proven solution for commercial production of both sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel, which was first developed and extensively tested by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a US Department of Energy (US DOE) National Laboratory.