AdvanceBio Selected for SAF Pilot Project Development and Design

  • Tuesday, 05 October 2021 10:13

Ethanol Producer Magazine

Oct 5, 2021

AdvanceBio LLC has been selected by D3MAX to lead the process development and design for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded project that supports the newly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge.

Launched by the DOE, U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Grand Challenge represents an effort to reduce the cost, enhance the sustainability and expand the production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). D3MAX’s proposal to develop a pilot plant capable of producing SAF from corn stover was chosen as an awardee under DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office Scale-Up and Conversion funding opportunity announcement number DE-FOA-0002396, Topic Area 1b: Scale-Up – Pilot Scale for Biofuels and Bioproducts. 

Based upon its extensive experience in biomass processing and process development, AdvanceBio was selected to provide process design services for development and construction of the pilot plant.

“We have worked successfully with AdvanceBio in the past and look forward to doing so again on this important project,” said Mark Yancey, chief technology officer at D3MAX. “We need to decarbonize aviation fuel and we expect that corn stover to SAF will play a major role in this effort.”

"We look forward to the opportunity to support the scale-up of such a transformative technology,” said Dale Monceaux, principal, AdvanceBio. “After literally decades of effort and billions of dollars of investment resulting in incremental improvements in biofuels technologies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) process offers the opportunity for the first truly revolutionary development in the quest for sustainable, cost-effective, biomass-based fuels and chemicals."

The project, called SAFFiRE (Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Renewable Ethanol), will demonstrate reliable, low-greenhouse gas (GHG) production of SAF from corn stover in a fully integrated, 10 metric ton per day pilot-scale facility. The novel process utilizes NREL’s low-temperature deacetylation and mechanical refining (DMR) pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis using Novozymes commercial hydrolytic enzymes, C5/C6 sugar fermentation to an intermediate ethanol product using commercial yeast from Lallemand and LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) process to convert the ethanol to SAF. In addition to the low cost, high titer, highly fermentable sugars produced in this reliable low-cost pretreatment, the valuable, non-condensed lignin produced will be recovered, dried and pelletized for sale as fuel pellets or sold directly for upgrading, all contributing to the lifecycle analysis (LCA).

“We identified a new process pathway that permits attainment of a negative GHG emission target. This approach is so transformative that our LCA concepts will be adopted by many entering the field from now on,” said Mike Himmel, NREL Senior Fellow.

About AdvanceBio LLC

AdvanceBio provides expert technical support for commercial fermentation and related unit operations across a range of bio-based industries. Our team of leading technologists and engineers brings over 100 years of combined experience in operations management, technology development and process design in starch, sugar and lignocellulosic-based ethanol, as well as food manufacturing. For more information, visit

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