This story looks at the complicated intersection between corn farmers, the ethanol industry, and development of sustainable aviation fuel as Illinois corn farmers plan for the future in a world whose climate is changing. Ethanol made from corn is used to reduce emissions in gasoline, a market threatened by electric and hybrid vehicles. But some fuel companies see a new market in making sustainable aviation fuel - if farmers change growing practices and ethanol plants make production cleaner. The 90 million acres of homegrown corn could be a solution to getting the needed biomass at scale. Freedom Pines Fuels, the world’s first-ever ethanol-to-jet aviation fuel plant, opened in Soperton, Georgia in January and its owner, LanzaJet, also is working with Southwest Airlines to see if ethanol can be made more sustainably from corn stalks, leaves and cobs left over after harvest.

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