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Microsoft will invest $50 million to turn alcohol into renewable jet fuel

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will invest $50 million in LanzaJet, which makes sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.
  • The funding will help build LanzaJet's Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia.
  • Lanzajet produces fuel from municipal solid waste, agricultural residues, biomass, and other sustainable sources.

Microsoft will invest $50 million in LanzaJet to help create millions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The funding will be used to build LanzaJet's Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia. LanzaJet claims that this plant is the world's first alcohol-to-jet SAF production plant.

LanzaJet uses sustainable ethanol sources, including solid waste, agricultural residues, and biomass, to create SAF and renewable diesel. Notably, the source material is waste-based and is not made from human food or animal feed.

Construction of the plant remains on schedule, despite global supply constraints and labor shortages, according to LanzaJet. The company expects its Freedom Pines Fuels plan to start producing 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year by 2023.

"With Microsoft's support, this first plant significantly expands the production of sustainable fuels in the US, establishes Georgia as a leader in clean tech, and is the foundation for us as the first alcohol-to-jet sustainable fuels producer, and as a blueprint for the commercial plants we're developing globally," said LanzaJet CEP Jimmy Samartzis.

Microsoft also weighed in on the announcement. "With this investment, we support LanzaJet in creating new pathways to help companies across industries achieve net-zero carbon through the use of sustainable fuels," said Brandon Middaugh from Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund.

Microsoft's investment will allow the company to advance toward the goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030. The move will also provide Microsoft with sustainable diesel fuel for its data centers.

Renewable fuel is relatively scarce in the aviation industry. Less than 0.1% of jet fuel used is renewable, as of 2019, according to the investment bank Jefferies (via Reuters). The Biden administration has a goal to reach net-zero aviation emissions by 2050. The EU aims to raise the amount of SAF blended fuel to 63% by 2050.

In September 2021, the Biden administration announced a target of producing 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030. To help reach that figure, LanzaJet set a goal of producing 1 billion gallons of SAF by 2030.

LanzaTech, Suncor Energy, Mitsui & Co., British Airways, Shell, and All Nippon Airways have also helped fund LanzaJet.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

6 Comments
  • Sean wrote, "the source material is waste-based and is not made from human food or animal feed." More important to me, it better not be based on anything I might want to drink. I don't feel like competing with jets for my booze. Now, I'm mostly a beer guy, which isn't going to fuel anything. But I also like Scotch and Tequila, and I'm not sharing them with some winged skybeast. After enough tequila, I'm sure I'd be willing to fight the plane for it.
  • Yes, yes, yes.
  • Such a waste of alcohol. Shame on MS.
  • If you try to drink their feedstock you won't last long.
    The alchohol in question is most likely methanol.
    You might as well try wiper fluid. Different chemicals but equally poisonous. Somebody at MS must've been flipping the cushions in the waiting rooms and figured a nice headline was the quickest way to dispose of the spare change. 😇
  • Yeah, the article makes it clear it's not the kind you'd drink, but my terror at the possibility from the headline is what brought me here in the first place. I already have to keep my wife from hiding my booze. I don't want MS coming for it next.
  • You could try hiding it first. 😇