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The Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge is the result of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal government agencies working together to develop a comprehensive strategy for scaling up new technologies to produce SAF on a commercial scale. To meet the goal of supplying 100% of projected domestic aviation jet fuel by 2050, purpose-grown energy crops, including algae, will need to be cultivated on a large scale.

On June 6-7, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri, the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) hosted a workshop titled Deploying Purpose-Grown Energy Crops for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. The workshop discussed successes, challenges, information gaps, opportunities, and novel ideas for deploying these energy crops.

OVERVIEW

The SAF Grand Challenge will guide recent federal actions to support industry in reducing the cost, enhancing the sustainability, and expanding the production and use of SAF to:

  • Produce 3 billion gallons per year of domestic SAF production that achieve a minimum of a 50% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel by 2030, and
  • Meet a goal of supplying 100% of projected domestic aviation jet fuel use, or 35 billion gallons of annual production, by 2050.

To meet these objectives, there will be a need for development and widespread adoption of purpose-grown energy crops, including algae, on a large scale. These energy crops may include, but are not limited to, algae (e.g. microalgae, cyanobacteria), herbaceous crops (e.g. switchgrass, miscanthus, energy cane, high-biomass sorghum), short-rotation woody crops (e.g. hybrid poplar, shrub willow), and overwintering secondary crops (e.g. carinata, pennycress, and other oilseed crops). 

Desired Workshop Outcomes:

  • Determine challenges and barriers to deploying purpose-grown energy crops and implementing climate-smart agricultural practices
  • Develop potential strategies to overcome the above challenges
  • Identify innovative solutions in the collection of reliable, long-term growth data and specific sustainability metrics of success
  • Establish and understand how to expand stakeholder networks in energy crops deployment

Vital results from this workshop will help guide future research and development directions in feedstock innovation to reduce the cost, improve the quality, increase the quantity, and maximize the environmental benefits of purpose-grown energy crops and renewable carbon resources. This work is critical to help achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s SAF goals and to advance a vibrant U.S. bioeconomy.  

Discussion and stakeholder feedback were facilitated through interactive breakout sessions, and BETO will develop a summary of findings from the workshop with a public report.

AGENDA

Download the agenda for this workshop.

SPEAKER BIOS

View the speaker bios for this workshop.

View the 3x5 sessions speaker bios for this workshop.

PRESENTATIONS

In addition to keynote and speaker presentations, BETO provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss successes and challenges deploying purpose-grown energy crops, recent promising innovations, and visions for future work in this field, among others. Presenters were given up to five minutes and three slides (3x5) (in addition to a title slide) to share their perspectives on deploying purpose-grown energy crops.

Download the presentations from this workshop.

WORKSHOP SUMMARY REPORT

Download the workshop summary report.

CONFERENCE VENUE

The workshop took place in-person at the Embassy Suites by Hilton – Kansas City International Airport, Missouri, June 6-7, 2023. There was no cost to attend this event.

CONTACT

Please direct any questions regarding this workshop to Dana Mitchell (Dana.Mitchell@ee.doe.gov) and Alexander Jansen (Alexander.Jansen@ee.doe.gov).