Gevo Receives USDA Grant to Accelerate Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production

Company’s Farm-to-Flight Program includes incentives for growing corn as a biofuel feedstock.

Gevo is working with the USDA to boost SAF production and cut carbon. [Credit: Shutterstock]

Gevo Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) said it has entered an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture aimed at boosting production of sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF.

Under the agreement, Gevo will receive a grant from the USDA of up to $30 million for the company’s Climate-Smart Farm-to-Flight Program. The program is designed to track and quantify the impact of “climate-smart practices” on carbon intensity (CI). It also seeks to create market incentives for growing low carbon-intensity corn to help accelerate SAF and ethanol production.

The company said the USDA’s support will help to boost climate-smart farming and increase the market for low carbon-intensity corn for SAF production near Gevo’s previously announced Net-Zero 1 SAF plant under development in Lake Preston, South Dakota.

"Our Farm-to-Flight Program, under this USDA grant, aims to count all the carbon at the field level and reward farmers on a performance basis for delivering low-CI corn, as well as to accelerate the production of SAF to reduce dependency on fossil-based fuel," said Dr. Paul Bloom, chief carbon officer and chief innovation officer for Gevo and head of Verity. "The program will also focus on deploying our Verity Tracking platform with farmers to help them measure, report, and verify their CI reductions."

Gevo’s Verity program uses methods similar to the Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies model, known as GREET, to calculate the carbon performance in a way that is “traceable, immutable, and fully auditable,” the company said.

"The Verity carbon accounting platform will give us the ability to assign carbon-intensity scores to feedstocks on a field-by-field basis—creating financial grade climate smart commodities that carry their performance through the supply chain to the final biofuel products," Bloom said. "This grant will help us apply the best science and reward growers for making a real difference to lower GHGs of biofuels."

Said Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo: "When Net-Zero 1 and other production facilities come online, the feedstocks in the program will be a key to the equation. This Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant will help ensure we count all the carbon through the entire business system and reward farmers for the good work they are doing."

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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