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Jet Zero raises $29m for Queensland sustainable fuel plant

written by Jake Nelson | March 12, 2024

Jet Zero Australia has secured $29 million in funding towards establishing a domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry.

Project Ulysses, to be built in northern Queensland, aims to produce 102 million litres of alcohol-based SAF and 11 million litres of renewable diesel per year. Jet Zero has now secured investment from Japanese energy conglomerate Idemitsu Kosan as a new strategic shareholder.

“Project Ulysses will play a very important role in the growing momentum towards decarbonising the Australian aviation sector while providing fuel security and also developing a new industry in North Queensland,” said Jet Zero Australia CEO Ed Mason.

“The ongoing support from Qantas and Airbus, two leaders in the Australian and international aviation sectors, as well as ongoing investment from our existing shareholders Chancery Hill, Dragonfly Enviro Capital and Audacy has remained crucial to the project’s success.


“We also welcome Idemitsu as a strategic shareholder with significant financial backing and capabilities in project development and renewable fuels. Alongside Qantas and Airbus, the addition of Idemitsu is a huge boost in our ability to fund the success and future development of our Australian SAF projects.”

According to Idemitsu representative Masahiko Sawa, the energy firm is looking to establish SAF production in Japan with a target of 500 million litres per year, to meet the country’s goal of using SAF for 10 per cent of its jet fuel consumption by 2030.

“This investment agreement represents our first investment in an overseas SAF project and will contribute to the establishment and strengthening of the global SAF supply chain,” said Sawa.

“Australia, especially Queensland, is an important business partner, and we hope to build a bridge between the two countries in the world of carbon neutrality in addition to the resources business.”

Qantas Group chief sustainability officer Andrew Parker said domestic SAF production is “critical” to Australia meeting its emissions reduction targets.

“Our early investment in Jet Zero’s project was a vote of confidence in its viability and we’re pleased to be able to continue that support at this funding round and we’re pleased to see a major international capital partner has now come onboard.

“Producing sustainable aviation fuel onshore has the potential to create 18,000 jobs and generate $13 billion in economic benefits annually by 2040 in addition to increasing Australia’s domestic fuel security.

“With the right policy settings and support from governments, we’ll be able to capitalise on the significant benefits and natural advantages that Australia has for SAF production.”

Qantas and Airbus in April 2023 jointly invested $2 million into Project Ulysses. The Flying Kangaroo last year called for a mandate on SAF blending to cut emissions, with Parker saying that without the right policy settings, SAF opportunities will be lost to overseas development.

“Governments around Australia are making important progress on working with industry to help decarbonise, and we welcome that,” he said.

“Creating markets for new fuels is a critical part of tackling climate change, which is why we’re today calling for a SAF mandate to be introduced to catalyse the development of the industry.”

Parker noted that several of Qantas’s destination countries already have SAF blending mandates of 5 to 10 per cent by 2030 and that Australia is well-placed to create a domestic SAF industry.

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