The airline will contribute around NZ$1.5m in the project, while the taxpayer will chip in NZ$765,000. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is made from waste like forestry slash, municipal waste, or used cooking oils, but while there is high demand globally, there is limited supply.
Burning SAF produces significantly lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than fossil jet fuel, Air New Zealand says. The NZ$2m-plus investment follows an earlier year-long process that invited innovators to demonstrate the viability of operating a SAF plant at a commercial scale in New Zealand.
The airline, along with government officials, evaluated proposals from multiple international SAF producers, to understand what technologies are available globally, and whether they could be brought to New Zealand. Proposals from two United States-based companies will be examined in the next phase of the project: one with LanzaJet and another with Fulcrum BioEnergy.
Air NZ said the next phase would evaluate the technical, economic, supply chain, and environmental feasibility of establishing and operating a SAF production facility in New Zealand.