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October 10, 2023

Sugar Valley Energy Bio-refinery to Address Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market

Brawley, Calif. — Sugar Valley Energy, a new 160-acre bioenergy campus planned in California’s Imperial Valley, will produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel for the airline industry, announced California Ethanol + Power CEO and President David Rubenstein today. The project could produce up to 77 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) annually and possibly up to 140 MGY when using agricultural biproducts.

The move will help address a key objective of the aviation industry, which aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The adoption of SAF is a key part of achieving this goal. “Ultimately, diversifying our product offering to the broadest possible customer base will accelerate our financing process,” said David Rubenstein, President and CEO of California Ethanol + Power, parent company developing SVE.

Sugar Valley Energy is a sustainable 160-acre biorefinery campus now in the final stage of development and is comprised of the ethanol production facility as well as a power island and wastewater treatment facility.  In addition to SAF, sustainable energy products produced at Sugar Valley Energy (SVE) will include low-carbon sugarcane ethanol for transportation fuels blending, renewable natural gas (RNG), renewable diesel (RD), electricity, CO2, hydrogen and local wastewater treatment connections to benefit regional businesses and residents. 

The project is expected to support as many as 15,000 jobs during construction and first year of operation, as well as approximately 2,000 agricultural jobs at full scale feedstock production. The sugarcane feedstock will be grown locally, directly controlled by SVE and fully contracted with nearby Imperial Valley farmers.  SVE has developed a robust long-term feedstock program and envisions growers currently producing alfalfa for animal feed export markets will switch to sugarcane production.

SAF produces up to 80% fewer lifecycle carbon emissions than the traditional jet fuel it replaces. In January 2023, the EPA approved a pathway to make SAF and Renewable Diesel from sugarcane ethanol. SVE’s ethanol from sugarcane will have the lowest carbon intensity of all feedstocks for sustainable aviation fuel in the state of California. 

SVE’s SAF will employ alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) technology, a proven solution for commercial production of both sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel. The technology was first developed and extensively tested by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a US Department of Energy (US DOE) National Laboratory. Specifically, the process converts ethanol to Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK) and Synthetic Paraffinic Diesel (SPD). The process is an approved pathway to produce SAF in accordance with ASTM D7566 Annex A5, which permits blending up to 50% with conventional jet aviation fuel.

About California Ethanol + Power (CE+P)

CE+P is a development company that intends to develop, construct, operate and own numerous facilities that will convert locally grown sugarcane into Essential Ethanol™ sustainable, renewable and extremely low carbon transportation fuel that will assist California in meeting its groundbreaking AB32 requirements. CE+P is committed to employing processes and equipment that are both commercially proven and financeable, while also meeting California’s stringent environmental regulations. CE+P also has identified promising potential products such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia, using low carbon ethanol as a feedstock for fossil fuel-based chemical replacement, and developing low carbon drop-in fuel from sugarcane tops and leaves as an alternative to crude oil. 

For more information, please visit:

•          California Ethanol + Power, LLC (CE+P): https://www.californiaethanolpower.com/sve#the-imperial-valley

•          Sugar Valley Energy, LLC (SVE): https://www.californiaethanolpower.com/sve#the-imperial-valley