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Exclusive: LanzaJet raising $100M for ethanol jet fuel

Illustration of a gloved hand scrubbing an airplane contrail with a sponge

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

LanzaJet is raising roughly $100 million as it completes a production plant that promises to be the world's first to make sustainable aviation fuel from ethanol.

Why it matters: The startup could produce a fuel that cuts aircraft emissions by as much as 80%.

Flashback: LanzaJet in February closed a $30 million investment from Southwest Airlines.

Driving the news: The company plans to close the funding round this quarter, a person familiar with the matter tells Axios.

  • The startup, a spin-off of carbon recycling startup LanzaTech, began raising at the end of 2023. It's aiming to achieve profitability in 2025.

Reality check: It'll be at least a decade, if ever, until ethanol-based fuel can compete on cost with conventional jet fuel without government incentives.

Zoom in: Ethanol subsidies, which back corn growers and influential agricultural giants, are among the most durable policy supports in Congress.

State of play: LanzaJet, based in Deerfield, Ill., is among a number of companies racing to produce sustainable aviation fuel.

  • Aircraft generate about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Startups are looking to reduce that impact by producing fuel from bio-based feedstock such as ethanol, which is made from corn.
  • Others like Twelve and Air Company are pursuing more advanced technologies that would make fuel from captured carbon dioxide.

LanzaJet's first plant, in Soperton, Ga., would produce 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel fuel per year.

  • The company in January celebrated the site's grand opening with production expected to begin this quarter.

Meanwhile, the company has announced additional projects overseas.

How it works: LanzaJet is largely licensing its tech and providing project development support, rather than building most of the projects itself.

  • It's occasionally opening plants through joint ventures, such as the overseas projects with Indian Oil and British Airways. It also sells the catalyst ingredients needed to make fuel from ethanol and has developed a modular version of its biorefinery systems.

Each LanzaJet plant is funded separately, according to a source familiar. Plant project costs can range from $400 million to $1.5 billion.

Editor's note: This story was updated to make clearer that the $100 million round is for LanzaJet the company and not specifically for the Georgia plant.

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