19 October 2021

GreenAir News

Reporting on aviation and the environment

Boeing and JetBlue invest to grow sustainable aviation fuel production on US West Coast

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production on the US West Coast has been boosted with the announcement that Boeing will invest in SkyNRG Americas’ first dedicated SAF plant in the country, while JetBlue Airways said it will increase its usage of SAF by taking World Energy’s product for its operations at Los Angeles International Airport. SkyNRG, which is based in the Netherlands, is looking to establish a series of SAF production plants, with the first planned to come online in Europe, reports Mark Pilling. Its recently formed US subsidiary SkyNRG Americas said the US SAF facility will supply airports and airlines on the West Coast. Boeing’s investment in the project includes the advance purchase of SAF from the facility for use in company flight tests and other operations. At this stage, neither the location of the US SkyNRG SAF plant nor the scale of Boeing’s investment have been announced. Meanwhile, JetBlue’s new SAF deal with World Energy and World Fuel Services has already started with fuelling of the airline’s flights at Los Angeles.

Boeing, SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas said they will work together to accelerate SAF development globally, focusing on scaling production capacity, building awareness and engaging stakeholders throughout the value chain, including airlines, governments and environmental organisations. “Sustainable aviation fuels are safe, proven and offer the greatest potential to reduce our industry’s carbon emissions in the near, medium and long term,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “This partnership is an important milestone on our journey to decarbonise aerospace, while ensuring that its societal and economic benefits are available to people everywhere.”

“We are extremely proud to take the longstanding Boeing-SkyNRG relationship to this new level. We have always been strong collaborators and through this teaming effort, we’re strengthening our relationship even further,” said Maarten van Dijk, Managing Director of SkyNRG.

Added John Plaza, Chief Executive of SkyNRG Americas: “We are thrilled to be in this partnership with Boeing and grateful for their leadership by providing an advance payment for SAF from our first facility. With this teaming agreement, SkyNRG Americas will be able to accelerate our efforts to expand the SAF industry throughout North America.”

Boeing becomes the second announced partner in SkyNRG Americas’ SAF production project following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in April between the firm and Alaska Airlines to jointly invest in its production, supply and use via offtakes. The MoU allows for Alaska Airlines to “collaborate on the development of SkyNRG Americas’ Direct Supply Line (DSL) projects and supporting policies that increase the commercial supply and pricing of SAF and educate the public on the benefits of SAF produced from municipal solid waste and associated waste streams,” a spokesperson for SkyNRG told GreenAir.

JetBlue’s new relationship with World Energy and World Fuel Services will increase JetBlue’s usage of SAF and will include 1.5 million gallons of blended SAF a year for at least three years, accounting for approximately 5% of JetBlue’s fuel uplift at Los Angeles International.

“JetBlue is facing climate change head on and preparing our business for a new climate reality,” said Sara Bogdan, JetBlue’s Director of Sustainability and ESG. “We are focused on growing our use of sustainable aviation fuel to replace conventional fossil-based jet fuel in our focus cities as it becomes available. It has not historically had the same policy support as other low carbon fuels and comes at a premium today. We’re excited by the prospect of additional policy support to help grow and scale sustainable aviation fuel, helping to usher in a lower-carbon future for aviation.”

The Los Angeles announcement follows JetBlue’s move to fuel flights from San Francisco International Airport with SAF from Neste. JetBlue is World Energy’s second US commercial airline partner to incorporate SAF into its regular operations. Delivery of the fuel into Los Angeles will be managed by World Fuel Services, JetBlue’s fuel management company. “JetBlue is taking aggressive action utilising tools available today to deliver on their net zero carbon emissions goals,” said Bryan Sherbacow, Chief Commercial Officer at World Energy. “Expanding commercial use of sustainable aviation fuel is critical in changing the industry’s carbon outcomes.”

The move by JetBlue at Los Angeles, one of the carriers most successful and busiest markets, and the SAF initiatives of other carriers, is strongly supported by the airport. “Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is committed to achieving ambitious sustainability goals, including net zero carbon emissions and 100% renewable energy for LAX facilities by 2045,” said LAWA CEO Justin Erbacci.

JetBlue has aggressive sustainability targets including the conversion of 10% of total jet fuel to be from blended SAF by 2030 and the conversion of 40% of three main ground service equipment vehicle types to electric by 2025 and 50% by 2030. Renewable fuel options will play a critical role in the aviation industry’s transition to lower-carbon operations, it said. Its ambitious ESG targets include a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Last year, JetBlue became the first major US airline to achieve carbon neutrality on all domestic flying, primarily through buying carbon offsets.

Photo: Boeing