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Conestoga Energy and SAFFiRE Renewables announce strategic agreement for pilot cellulosic ethanol plant in Liberal, Kansas


LIBERAL, Kan., Nov. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Conestoga Energy ("Conestoga") and SAFFiRE Renewables, LLC ("SAFFiRE Renewables" or "SAFFiRE") announced today their agreement for Conestoga to host SAFFiRE's cellulosic ethanol pilot plant at Conestoga's Arkalon Energy ethanol facility in Liberal, Kansas. The SAFFiRE pilot project aims to validate and demonstrate the commercialization of SAFFiRE's corn-stover-to-ethanol technology in a fully integrated pilot facility that processes 10 tons of corn stover per day. Both Conestoga and SAFFiRE are focused on producing ultra-low carbon intensity (CI) ethanol for use in renewable fuels, making this a synergistic relationship.

The cellulosic ethanol from the SAFFiRE pilot project and potential future commercial facilities is planned to be upgraded to ultra-low CI sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in support of the aviation industry's decarbonization efforts. SAF is fuel produced from non-fossil fuel sources that can result in lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than conventional jet fuel on a lifecycle basis. SAF is a drop-in fuel when blended with conventional jet fuel and is crucial to decarbonizing aviation.

SAF's lower carbon intensity makes it an important part of reducing aviation GHG emissions, which make up 9%–12% of U.S. transportation GHG emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Conestoga is excited to work with SAFFiRE Renewables on this transformative opportunity. This agreement ties in well with Conestoga's rich history of providing carbon reducing and net zero solutions in the bioethanol space," said Tom Willis, CEO of Conestoga Energy. "In order to reach stated net zero carbon emission goals by 2050, the aviation industry will have to embrace SAF. SAFFiRE cellulosic ethanol technology is planned to produce ethanol that can be upgraded to SAF that can be cost-competitive with traditional fossil-based jet fuel. Conestoga is proud to be a part this next big step for both the Ethanol and Aviation industries."

"A tremendous amount of engineering and site design work has been completed and we're confident that this pilot plant will be the first step toward scaling and commercializing the conversion of corn stover to cellulosic ethanol, which SAFFiRE plans to convert to sustainable aviation fuel through the alcohol-to-jet pathway," said Tom Nealon, CEO of SAFFiRE Renewables. "This is good for the corn growers, it's good for ethanol producers, and it's good for the host communities and the aviation industry. Our pilot plant site selection process was rigorous, and Conestoga exceeded all of our requirements and continues to demonstrate that they are an outstanding partner.".

About Conestoga Energy

With offices in Liberal, Kansas and Southlake, Texas, Conestoga is a renewable energy company focused on providing the lowest carbon, sustainable biofuel, and related bio-alcohol and ingredient solutions. Conestoga owns two ethanol plants in southwest Kansas and manages over 200+ million gallons per year along with related co-products across Kansas and Texas. Conestoga has been capturing CO2 at its two Kansas plants for over 14 years primarily for Enhanced Oilfield Recovery (EOR). To complement its current EOR operations, Conestoga is actively executing an independent geologic sequestration option in southwest Kansas. In addition to sequestering almost 450K MT of CO2 annually from its Kansas plants, Conestoga generates both Corn-Based Ethanol (D6) and Cellulosic Biofuel (D3) RINs. To round out its continued focus on carbon solutions, Conestoga is one of the largest traders in obligated carbon markets, including RINs, LCFS, RGGI and CCA. For additional information about Conestoga, visit www.conestogaenergy.com.

About SAFFiRE Renewables, LLC

SAFFiRE is an acronym for Sustainable Aviation Fuel From [i] Renewable Ethanol. Formed in 2022, SAFFiRE Renewables, LLC intends to first pilot and then commercialize proprietary technology to convert agricultural residues like corn stover into renewable ethanol. SAFFiRE expects to exclusively license technology from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and D3MAX, LLC that, when combined, will enable the production of low-cost, low-carbon renewable ethanol. The renewable ethanol then is planned to be upgraded into fully certified sustainable aviation fuel utilizing alcohol-to-jet technology applied by prospective SAF producers. Learn more at http://www.saffirerenewables.com/.

View original content: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/conestoga-energy-and-saffire-renewables-announce-strategic-agreement-for-pilot-cellulosic-ethanol-plant-in-liberal-kansas-301990089.html

SOURCE Conestoga Energy Partners