Twelve broke ground on the new plant, which is being constructed on the site of a former sugar beet mill. The groundbreaking came shortly after the new project was announced by the company at the Paris Air Show.
Made from renewable sources instead of fossil fuels, sustainable aviation fuel can reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint. Twelve’s Moses Lake production facility is the first of what is hoped to be several facilities in the state that can produce these fuels at scale in the years to come.
Microsoft and Alaska Air are partners in the new endeavor, which Governor Jay Inslee said could usher in a new dawn in aviation.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Gov. Jay Inslee and sustainability leaders from Microsoft and Alaska Air Group hailed the project as a breakthrough for aviation and the state. Inslee called it “the dawn of new aviation.” These new technologies have the potential to help future generations reduce carbon levels while still being able to enjoy air travel.
Currently, sustainable aviation fuel use is a mere drop in the bucket, accounting for 10 million gallons out of the 20 billion gallons of jet fuel used annually. That’s about .05% of the total.
Twelve had developed a process to make sustainable jet fuel from renewable electricity, water and CO2 from waste biomass. Electricity will split the water and CO2 into their atomic elements – hydrogen and carbon monoxide. These are then combined to create a hydrogen gas that can be refined into jet fuel.
In its announcement at the Paris Air Show, company officials said they chose Moses Lake because of its easy access to green electricity and biomass sources, including ethanol plants and pulp and paper mills. Recent legislation passed by the state to subsidize the production of sustainable aviation fuel was another major factor.
Dutch company SkyNRG is in the planning stages for a new plant in Washington that can produce 30 million gallons per year.