April 27, 2022

Go SAF, Young Man: Go SAF, young one, and grow up with the country

Horace Greeley didn’t know anything about sustainable aviation fuel, and he may not have even authored the phrase, “Go West and grow up with the country.” But he did write, “Why insert this and not that? Why so much or A and so little of B?” I keep his instructions by my writing desk, it’s part of his Political Textbook for 1860, and it’s a useful question for the shift of economies from one set of raw materials to another. Why indeed so much of A and so little of B?

Hitherto the question has been, why so little SAF and so much fossil kerosene? Perhaps not long from now the question will be reversed. If the California-based Aemetis has anything to do with it, the question will be asked much sooner and not much later. They’ve been on an historic tear this April, and for oilcos hoping that SAF will not arrive in large quantities at the San Francisco International, as T. S Eliot once expressed it in The Waste Land, “April is the cruelest month.”

California is not a waste land, it remains a horn of plenty, but with plenty of production comes plenty of waste, it is the way of sophisticated Western economies. Now that sustainability is becoming part of the pricing equation, it is getting expensive not cheap to throw stuff away, and Aemetis has been scooping up contracts for California waste in large quantities because now there is money in it, and Aemetis plans to do well by doing good, which is the Eric McAfee method if you’ve become somewhat acquainted with that company’s CEO.

Let me amend that. Aemetis likes to do very well by doing very good. I think that puts it better.

Jim Lane– Biofuels Digest

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