Alaska Airlines and Oregon-based sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) outfit SkyNRG Americas have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly invest in SAF production, supply, and use, reports Mark Pilling. The Seattle-based carrier is the latest US airline, following Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, to tie-up with SAF producers to gain access to alternative fuels. 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. A Direct Supply Line is SkyNRG’s terminology for a SAF supply chain that consists of local feedstock, a commercial SAF production plant and long-term offtake partners.
“Offtake agreements are part of collaboration between Alaska and SkyNRG Americas and more details will be announced in the future,” said the company. “SkyNRG Americas is developing SAF production facilities in North America, focusing on the US West Coast.”
“This is a critical next step in our long-term plan to reduce carbon emissions and our impact on the planet,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines’ VP Public Affairs and Sustainability. “We have been working for more than a decade to advance SAF technology and viability, and we’re excited to partner with SkyNRG’s experienced team to advance truly sustainable production of SAF, develop supply in the Pacific Northwest and engage partners for a commercially viable and scalable future for sustainable fuels.”
John Plaza, CEO of SkyNRG Americas described Alaska Airlines as one of the most fuel-efficient airlines in the US. “It is an ideal partner not only to support SAF demand but also to help drive necessary policy changes that will encourage development of the SAF industry across the Pacific Northwest and the nation as a whole.”
The partners will focus on SAF made from municipal sold waste (MSW) and other waste-based feedstock sources that have the potential to reduce GHG emissions by more than 80% and reduce particulate matter by 90%. They say significant volumes of MSW are available throughout the US that could be diverted from landfill. Of critical importance, they stress, will be to continue work to maximise recycling and reduce waste streams before any conversion of MSW to SAF occurs.
The collaboration builds on an agreement between Alaska Airlines, SkyNRG and Microsoft announced in October 2020, aiming to use SAF to offset Microsoft employee travel on Alaska Airlines services between Seattle and San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles (see article). This sees Microsoft buying SAF credits from SkyNRG, with those credits used by SkyNRG to supply SAF produced by World Energy.
Alaska Airlines has been an early adopter of SAF beginning in 2010 with test flights and it continues to regularly use SAF offtake at San Francisco International Airport. At the end of March, the airline confirmed its membership of oneworld, which was the first airline alliance to commit its members to a net-zero emissions by 2050 target.
Photo: Alaska Airlines