Air New Zealand is partnering with the NZ Government to invest more than $2 million in domestic production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Echoing a similar investment by Qantas and Airbus in Queensland, the funding – comprising NZ$1.5 million from Air New Zealand and NZ$765,000 from the Government – will go towards next-stage feasibility studies into developing a domestic SAF industry in New Zealand.
The working group is considering two proposals from US-based companies LanzaJet and Fulcrum BioEnergy, and will now evaluate the feasibility of domestic SAF production from a technical, economic, supply chain, and environmental standpoint, with the study expected to run until early 2024.
“So much of what we rely on in Aotearoa is based on our magnificent natural assets, including tourism and food production. Air New Zealand has a significant role to play in transitioning our economy to a lower carbon future and flying with SAF is a key part of this transition,” said Air New Zealand Chief Sustainability Officer Kiri Hannifin.
“Globally, SAF is in very high demand but limited supply. Commercially producing SAF in New Zealand would not only help lower the country’s emissions while creating jobs, regional economic development, and Māori and Iwi investment opportunities, but also provide energy security and energy independence which is something New Zealand doesn’t have.”
The move comes after Qantas in March partnered with Airbus to pour $2 million into investigating the feasibility of a domestic SAF production facility in Australia, with LanzaJet one of the companies involved.
The site in Queensland will transform agricultural by-products, including sugarcane, into up to 100 million litres of SAF annually. Construction is expected to start as soon as next year.
The Flying Kangaroo said the money would be used for a feasibility study and “early-stage project development” but told reporters it’s confident the project will go ahead.
It follows Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce last year declaring that “competitive” Australians should be beating other nations to produce large quantities of SAF and pledging to invest $50 million to support establishing a local industry.