Twelve makes jet fuel from CO2; signs agreement with Microsoft, Alaska Air

Sustainable aviation fuel, commonly referred to as SAF, has so far been expensive to produce, but new startups are now creating clean fuels from carbon at a much lower cost. Now, new tax incentives for cleaner fuels under the recently signed Inflation Reduction Act could further accelerate the growth of these companies.

Most SAF is made from organic vegetable oils, but Twelve, a chemical company based in Berkeley, California, makes fuel from carbon. The company has just announced a partnership with Alaska Airlines and Microsoft to advance the production and use of E-jet Twelve, a low-carbon jet fuel.

“Our process uses CO2, water and electricity as inputs. We use electricity to separate CO2 and water, and then we have catalysts that recombine the elements to create new products. And one of the things we can do is building blocks. for jet fuel,” said co-founder and CEO Nicholas Flanders.

The process, according to Flanders, is much cheaper than existing SAF production.

“The cost of renewable electricity has come down over the past decade, as has the cost of capturing CO2, as well as the cost of electrolyzers, the technology we use to convert CO2 and water into the building blocks for jet fuel. ” he said.

Flanders says the planes won’t need to be changed in any way to run on the new fuel, which he says emits 90% less than conventional jet fuel. This is a huge amount for airlines trying to meet aggressive emissions targets.

“We have a goal of reaching zero by 2040. We have five steps to get there,” said Diana Birkett, Senior Vice President of Communications and Sustainability for Alaska Airlines. “But sustainable aviation fuel offers the biggest opportunity of all these steps to make a significant leap towards the 2040 goal.”

At scale, the technology needs to be cost-competitive with conventional jet fuel, Flanders said.

Twelve is backed by DCVC, Capricorn Investment Group, Carbon Direct, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Breakout Ventures, Munich Ree and Elementum Ventures. It has raised $200 million to date.

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