Following their multi-year agreement, Montana Renewables has begun first shipments of sustainable aviation fuel to Shell Aviation for onward delivery to Shell’s US customers that include JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Montana Renewables claims it will be producing around 30 million gallons of SAF per year and make it the largest SAF producer in North America, with plans to significantly increase that amount over the next two to three years. The company’s location is close to major feedstock sources in the US and Canada, including the temperate oil seed growing zone and large farm and ranch operations in the region. Shell and its affiliates are expanding and building supply chain capabilities to blend and distribute SAF throughout the United States to enable more customers with access to the fuel.
“We’re proud to collaborate with Shell to improve aviation sustainability,” said Bruce Fleming, CEO Montana Renewables (MRL). “Strong support from the State of Montana, Cascade County and the City of Great Falls made possible the unique speed of Montana Renewables, and Shell is the logical offtake partner for us to reach multiple airlines and airports from our geographically advantaged site. We are now producing more SAF than any other North American company, on top of our renewable diesel and renewable hydrogen.”
MRL, whose renewable fuels plant began operations in late 2022 following investment of over $1 billion since Calumet acquired the business in 2012, has applied for International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) CORSIA certification. It is permitted for 15,000 barrels per stream day of renewable feedstocks, which include seed oils, used cooking oil and tallow, for conversion into low-emission alternatives.
In April, Delta announced an agreement to purchase 10 million gallons of neat SAF from Shell Aviation, to be used over two years at Los Angeles International Airport. The agreement also includes testing the Avelia blockchain-powered digital book-and-claim platform launched by Shell Aviation and its partners last year.
“This is a great example of the kind of action and investment needed in states across our country that we need to meet our aggressive SAF goals as an industry,” said Pam Fletcher, the airline’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “There’s not enough SAF being produced today to power the world’s commercial airlines for a single day, so we’re grateful to everyone at the State of Montana, Montana Renewables and Shell for providing the incentives and taking meaningful steps towards scaling production of this largest known lever we have for decarbonising aviation.”
According to Delta’s ESG Report for 2022, the airline has a goal of replacing 10% of its jet fuel consumption by 10% by the end of 2030 and expects this to require at least 400 million gallons of SAF annually. At the end of 2022, Delta had agreements in place, “subject to third-party investment and timely facility development”, with multiple suppliers for an aggregate offtake of 200 million gallons towards the 2030 target.
“We continue to purchase from and align with leaders in the SAF industry to accelerate our yearly procurement,” says the report.
Photo: Shell Aviation