Leading energy company Mitsui & Co (Mitsui) has formed a partnership with petrochemical firm Cosmo Oil to study LanzaJet technology for the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Japan, the companies announced.

The collaboration would also involve the construction of a new biofuel production facility in the country and the creation of a new business, the companies said in their 28 July joint statement.

As part of the partnership, Cosmo would offer jet fuel quality management and trading operations in the oil refining business and Mitsui would contribute ethanol procurement capabilities and LanzaJet's proprietary SAF technology, the companies said.

Mitsui and Cosmo said the aim was to start large-scale domestic SAF production operations at Cosmo refineries, using LanzaJet's proprietary alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology.

The AJT process developed by LanzaJet, which Mitsui has invested in, converts ethanol to synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK) and synthetic paraffinic diesel (SPD), according to the LanzaJet website. The process is an approved pathway to produce SAF in accordance with ASTM D7566 Annex A5, which permits blending up to 50% with conventional Jet A aviation fuel.

LanzaJet said the technology could process any source of sustainable ethanol, including ethanol produced from municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural residues, industrial off-gases and biomass.

Mitsui and Cosmo said they planned to produce and supply 220M litres/year of SAF in Japan through this project by 2027.

The Japanese government has set a target of replacing 10% of aviation fuel with SAF by 2030.