Members of the oneworld® Alliance plan to purchase up to 200 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year from Colorado-based renewable fuels producer Gevo, in the second such joint commitment by the global airline alliance in four months.
Delivery of the fuel is expected to commence in 2027, for a five year-term. oneworld members Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways expect to utilise the sustainable aviation fuel for operations in California including San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles International Airports.
Sustainable aviation fuel is a core pillar in oneworld’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050. In October 2021, the alliance committed to a target of 10% sustainable aviation fuel use across the alliance by 2030. oneworld members are partnering to collectively source sustainable aviation fuel, through the alliance’s Environment and Sustainability Board chaired by IAG Head of Sustainability Jonathon Counsell with representation from all member airlines.
In November 2021, oneworld announced a joint commitment to purchase more than 350 million gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel from Aemetis for operations at San Francisco – making oneworld the first global airline alliance to jointly commit to purchasing sustainable aviation fuel.
Gevo’s sustainable aviation fuel is expected to be produced using inedible corn products that will be processed to create ethanol that will then be converted into sustainable aviation fuel. The sustainable aviation fuel is expected to be produced at three facilities under development in the Midwest of the United States. The entire supply chain will be certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) standard which is widely recognised as the most robust certification scheme for bioenergy.
Sustainable aviation fuel, which produces significantly lower carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel, is an important part of the aviation sector’s path to decarbonisation, in particular on longer-haul flights. No changes to current aircraft or airport infrastructure are required for operators to utilise sustainable aviation fuel – making it a feasible and immediate solution to reduce carbon emissions. However, sustainable aviation fuel is not yet available at scale – underlining the importance of joint commitments like that of oneworld member airlines. Support from other stakeholders, such as government regulations and targeted investments, will further enable the maturity of sustainable aviation fuel production.
oneworld Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “As the aviation industry continues to face new challenges, today’s announcement underlines the positive outcome of the multilateral collaboration between industry stakeholders. It reaffirms the leadership of our alliance in supporting the ambitious aviation decarbonisation targets, as well as our active role in driving the use of ICAO recognised SAF at a commercial scale.”
oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “Five months ago, we committed as an alliance to a target of 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030. Today’s announcement of a second major sustainable aviation fuel offtake among member airlines builds further upon that commitment, while demonstrating the value that can be delivered when our member airlines work together.”
“When oneworld member airlines show they understand the importance of reducing fossil-carbon greenhouse gas emissions, they start making real change in the industry,” said Dr. Patrick R. Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer. “Eliminating fossil-based emissions from the life-cycle of jet fuel is our mission. Net-Zero SAF is what we all want. I’m pleased that oneworld is on board.”
Gevo is focused on sustainability at every stage of production and has developed two alcohol-to-jet pathways that can utilise various feedstocks grown using renewable agricultural and sustainable farming techniques. These feedstocks are then converted, in some cases, to high-value nutrition products and energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons, including sustainable aviation fuel. Gevo’s production processes will incorporate renewable energy, including wind turbines, biogas, and combined heat and power systems (CHP) to increase efficiency and reduce carbon intensity to net-zero levels, which will then be passed on to the customer through the fuel. This is particularly helpful for customers, such as airlines, that seek to reduce their carbon intensity.
oneworld member airlines work together to deliver consistently a superior, seamless travel experience, with special privileges and rewards for frequent flyers, including earning and redeeming miles and points across the entire alliance network. Top-tier cardholders (Emerald and Sapphire) enjoy access to airport lounges and are offered extra baggage allowances. The most regular travelers (Emerald) can also use fast track security lanes at select airports. Learn more about the oneworld Alliance at oneworld.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Gevo’s mission is to transform renewable energy and carbon into energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons. These liquid hydrocarbons can be used for drop-in transportation fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel, that when burned have potential to yield net-zero greenhouse gas emissions when measured across the full life cycle of the products. Gevo uses low-carbon renewable resource-based carbohydrates as raw materials, and is in an advanced state of developing renewable electricity and renewable natural gas for use in production processes, resulting in low-carbon fuels with substantially reduced carbon intensity (the level of greenhouse gas emissions compared to standard petroleum fossil-based fuels across their life cycle). Gevo’s products perform as well or better than traditional fossil-based fuels in infrastructure and engines, but with substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to addressing the problems of fuels, Gevo’s technology also enables certain plastics, such as polyester, to be made with more sustainable ingredients. Gevo’s ability to penetrate the growing low-carbon fuels market depends on the price of oil and the value of abating carbon emissions that would otherwise increase greenhouse gas emissions. Gevo believes that its proven, patented technology enabling the use of a variety of low-carbon sustainable feedstocks to produce price-competitive low-carbon products such as gasoline components, jet fuel and diesel fuel yields the potential to generate project and corporate returns that justify the build-out of a multi-billion-dollar business.
Gevo believes that the Argonne National Laboratory GREET model is the best available standard of scientific-based measurement for life cycle inventory or LCI.
Featured image credited to Ingrid Barrentine/Alaska Airlines