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Company hopes to produce sustainable jet fuel at Loring Air Force Base

Loring Air Force Base
David Sharp
Sun sets behind the control tower of the former Loring Air Force Base on Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Limestone, Maine. The base, which was once home to B-52 bombers, was closed in 1994 as part of a Defense Department effort to cut costs.

The former Loring Air Force Base in Aroostook County could soon be home to a plant producing sustainable jet fuel.

DG Fuels LLC has signed an agreement to lease more than 1,200 acres from the Loring Development Authority. The company plans to produce what it calls "sustainable aviation fuel." According to a press release, the low-carbon fuel will incorporate hydrogen from water electrolysis, and carbon derived from timber and agricultural waste.

Heather Johnson, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, says this is just a first step for the project.

"The siting is usually an important milestone as they move forward and as a commitment to an area--which we're really excited that Maine is where they've chosen to site this project--so this is a really exciting development," Johnson says. "But it's one step in what is a long process."

The company hopes to break ground in the summer of 2024, and expects to create 2,300 jobs during construction, and 650 permanent jobs.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.