Twelve – a California-based CO2 utilization company founded in 2015, announced an important milestone towards advancing its sustainable aviation fuel production technology. The tech startup launched on Feb 8th its commercial-scale carbon transformation unit.
The commercial-scale facility of Twelve, based in Moses Lake, Washington, is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The company’s technology utilizes a CO2 electrochemical reactor called OPUS that turns carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons, which are feedstocks for a variety of products. These products can replace the ones currently produced from fossil fuels.
The commercial plant will run on hydropower and use CO2 captured from a nearby ethanol plant. The captured CO2 and water will be fed through OPUS and turned into synthetic gas, which is a basis of SAF. The gas can be blended with traditional jet fuel. Twelve will sell the carbon credits from the emissions it reduces to businesses looking to offset their business travel carbon footprint.
Some benefits of the system include its size of a shipping container that according to Twelve’s co-founder and Chief Science Officer Etosha Cave does not take much space. The system’s reactor can also be ramped up quickly to its optimum operating conditions which eliminates the need to run 24×7, thereby lowering operating costs. It can also run when renewable prices are at their lowest compared to higher-temperature units that have to run 24/7.
Sustainable aviation fuels are short to medium-term low carbon solutions that can replace current aviation and shipping fuels made from extraction of fossil fuels. As currently used conventional fuels come with a heavy carbon footprint, SAFs are seen as an alternative until zero emission aircrafts and ships become widely available and commercially scaled. In some cases SAFs have been estimated to have 80% lower lifecycle CO2 emissions compared to conventional fuels.