April 01, 2024

Illinois poised to be leader in SAF production

Source: FarmWeek Now


linois is teed up to become an ideal ecosystem for production and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

On top of the infrastructure, feedstocks and research facilities available, the Prairie State offers an additional incentive — a $1.50-per-gallon tax credit to purchasers and users of SAF.

“That sends a strong signal that (Illinois) wants to see SAF part of the market,” ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Jack Williams said during the inaugural “Leading the Way: Sustainable Aviation Fuel in Illinois” conference in Lisle March 21-22.

The conference, organized by the Illinois Manufacturers Association, IL Corn and Intersect Illinois, featured speakers and presentations covering all aspects of SAF and showcased the opportunity renewable fuel offers to lower emissions and transform manufacturing, transportation and agriculture sectors in Illinois and across the Midwest.

Keynote speaker Gov. JB Pritzker proudly proclaimed to be the first governor to approve an SAF tax credit, which incentivizes producers and purchasers to lean into what he anticipates will be a “flourishing” industry.

“I want to be clear with all of you, there is no state that is better positioned to thrive in this industry than the state of Illinois,” Pritzker told the crowd of about 250 attendees.

The state is home to a skilled biofuels workforce, and is the No. 3 ethanol producer in the nation. Pritzker added the state is also incentivizing investment in SAF production, infrastructure and technology development in order to encourage private sector participation to spur innovation and accelerate the transition to sustainable aviation fuels.

Nine international airports also call Illinois home.

“Our SAF ecosystem consists of strong research institutions, big customers, innovative startups and a deliberately SAF-friendly regulatory environment,” Pritzker said. “By leveraging industry leadership, local expertise and agricultural resources, companies can accelerate the development and adoption of SAF technologies in Illinois and be part of a thriving, sustainable aviation fuel industry.”

The Illinois SAF tax credit went into effect in July 2023 and sunsets on Dec. 31, 2032. To date, no companies have applied for the tax credit, said Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, an advocate for biofuels and a senate leader when it comes to SAF, also weighed in on the future of SAF and Illinois’ potential role in the market during a recorded interview, highlighting farmers’ role with sustainable ag practices. She also stressed the aviation industry doesn’t meet carbon reduction goals without SAF.

“And I’d rather we be the ones to provide it than other countries,” Duckworth said.

By:  Tammie Sloup