Qantas and Airbus invest in new refinery that will turn sugar into fuel

Qantas Airbus A330 plane
ChameleonsEye /

Agricultural by-products including sugarcane will be transformed into jet fuel at a new biofuel refinery with investment from Qantas, Airbus and the Queensland Government in Australia. 

The new Queensland facility is being developed by Jet Zero Australia in partnership with leading sustainable aviation fuel technology company LanzaJet

The two aviation giants, Qantas and Airbus, will both invest more than US$1.3 million each to conduct a detailed feasibility study and early-stage project development. 

Construction of the site will commence in 2024 and once completed will produce up to 100 million litres of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) per year. 

The Qantas Group and Airbus have committed to investing up to US$200 million to accelerate the establishment of a SAF industry in Australia.  

The facility is the first project funded under the Qantas and Airbus Australian Sustainable Aviation Fuel Partnership. 

Sustainable fuels are seen as the most accessible tool airlines currently have to reduce their emissions, particularly given they can be used in today’s engines and fuel delivery infrastructure with no modifications. 

“Qantas will be the largest single customer for Australian-made SAF to meet our emissions reduction targets, which is why we’re investing in the ideas and technology that will build a local SAF industry,” chief sustainability officer, Andrew Parker said. “This is one of several projects that we are looking to fund this year, all of which will help accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation industry.” 

Airbus executive vice president of corporate affairs and sustainability Julie Kitcher said that all Airbus aircraft are already capable of flying with a SAF blend of up to 50%.  

“Ensuring a sustainable future for our industry is a priority for Airbus, working with partners across the world and from all sectors,” Ms Kitcher said. “There is a growing positive momentum around SAF, and it is now time to move from commitments to concrete action.” 

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