Australia’s first ATJ SAF production facility to begin construction in 2024

Image credit: Airbus

The Qantas Group, Airbus, and the Queensland Government have joined forces to invest in a biofuel production plant being developed in Queensland by Jet Zero Australia in collaboration with the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) provider, LanzaJet. 

The facility, which is projected to have annual SAF production capacity of up to 100 million litres, is the first project funded under the Qantas and Airbus Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership, Airbus said in a news release. 

The Queensland plant will employ LanzaJet’s Alcohol to Jet (ATJ) technology to turn waste from the sugarcane industry and other agricultural leftovers into jet fuel.

As part of the project, the Qantas Group and Airbus will jointly invest AUD 2 million of an initial AUD 6 million capital raising, while the Queensland Government will inject AUD 760,000.

A comprehensive feasibility assessment and early-stage project development will be done with the funding provided.

Construction of the facility, said to be Australia’s first ATJ SAF plant, is slated to commence next year.

The early project investment, according to Qantas Group Chief Sustainability Officer Andrew Parker, was a first but crucial step in assisting with the development of Australia’s domestic SAF sector, which would power aircraft around the country.

“Sustainable aviation fuel is critical to the decarbonisation of the aviation industry,” Parker said. 

He continued, “This investment will help kickstart an innovative project to turn agricultural by-products into sustainable aviation fuel and create a significant domestic biofuels refinery.”

Parker also noted that this is one of a number of projects that Qantas hopes to sponsor this year, all of which will hasten the growth of an Australian local SAF industry. 

Julie Kitcher, Airbus executive vice president of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, stated that all Airbus aircraft are already capable of flying with a SAF blend of up to 50 per cent.

“The selection of the first investment under our joint partnership with Qantas is an example of such action, with the potential to deliver SAF locally in Australia and to be a model for other locations around the world,” Kitcher remarked.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles claimed that this project would be a game changer for Queensland, driving the state’s economic future and contributing to decarbonisation ambitions. 

“With our rich supply of feedstock, Queensland is in the perfect position to capitalise on the global shift to green jet fuels and become the leader of a local SAF industry,” Miles said.

The deputy premier added, “This is another signal to the world that Queensland is ready for take-off as a clean energy powerhouse.”