Washington Gov. Jay Inslee used Monday’s launch of the Paris Air Show to reveal two firms at the forefront of developing sustainable aviation fuels and zero-emission propulsion systems are setting deeper roots in the state.
Twelve, a California-based company, plans to construct its first commercial-scale production facility in Moses Lake where it will make jet fuel from electricity, water and air. The firm says it will use a proprietary technology that “replicates photosynthesis at industrial scale,” converting carbon dioxide into various products, including fuel.
Meanwhile, ZeroAvia, developers of electric-powered jet engines, will receive state and local grants to foment expansion of its research and development center at Paine Field in Everett.
The firms are part of a “rapidly growing ecosystem” of Washington-based companies working on cutting-edge technologies to help decarbonize the global aviation industry, Inslee, who is attending the show, said in a news release.
Inslee and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., head up the state’s 100-person delegation of aerospace executives, business leaders and elected officials.
At the weeklong event, Washington is looking to solidify itself as a destination for companies on the leading edge of the coming generation of hydrogen, electric and hybrid hydrogen-electric powered aircraft. Already, several firms involved in developing propulsion systems, and designing and building actual aircraft, are setting down in the state.
This year, the Legislature passed a new tax credit to promote sustainable aviation fuel and invested $6.5 million in a Research and Development Center for Sustainable Aviation Fuels at Paine Field.
A quartet of companies — Universal Hydrogen, magniX, Plug Power and AeroTec — announced the creation of a Hydrogen Aviation Test and Service Center at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake. A Dutch firm has announced plans for an $800 million sustainable aviation fuels plant and Eviation, in Arlington, is getting orders for its all-electric commuter aircraft Alice.
Inslee, on Tuesday morning, will host a discussion on sustainable aviation fuel and hydrogen-powered flight with industry representatives, environmental advocates and regulators. They’ll delve into how to build a system that is robust, resilient to supply chain challenges, environmentally sound and sustainable.
Monday’s announcements reflect Inslee’s vision on two fronts.
Twelve intends to break ground July 11 on what state officials call the world’s first production facility of sustainable aviation fuel made with carbon dioxide and renewable energy.
The state is not providing direct funding to Twelve, officials said. The firm is expected to benefit from a recently approved tax credit for producers of sustainable fuels and a streamlined permitting process for construction of clean energy facilities.
A new law would provide a lower business and occupation tax rate for the manufacturing and wholesaling of alternative jet fuel. The preferential rate would be available for a facility with a production capacity of at least 20 million gallons of alternative jet fuel per year. The preferential tax rate lasts for 10 years.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig of Spokane, also contains opportunities for tax credits related to the sale and purchase of alternative fuels.
“Commercial-scale production of E-Jet fuel is a major milestone in our mission of creating a world run on air,” Twelve co-founder and CEO Nicholas Flanders said in a Department of Commerce news release. “Washington is the perfect location for our facility, with its abundant renewable energy resources to power our carbon transformation process and longstanding global leadership in the aviation industry.”
The first customers to receive E-Jet fuel from the plant will be companies and major airlines with which Twelve has existing partnerships, including Shopify, Alaska Airlines, and Microsoft, according to the state.
ZeroAvia announced in May plans to retrofit a Dash 8 Q400 turboprop with its hydrogen-powered electric propulsion system. The 76-seat aircraft was provided by Alaska Airlines, a ZeroAvia investor and hangar neighbor at Paine Field, according to a release.
The firm is slated to receive $350,000 each from the state’s Economic Development Strategic Reserve Fund and Economic Alliance Snohomish County to expand its research and development facility at Paine Field in Everett. The firm received a $350,000 grant from the state Department of Commerce last year to set up its research facility there, state officials said.
ZeroAvia employs about 30 people at the site and expects to ramp up hiring as the workload increases.
The support “enables us to push forward quickly on our targets for commercial flight of up to 20-seat aircraft by 2025, and up to 80-seat aircraft by 2027,” said Val Miftakhov, the company’s CEO and founder, in a news release.
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