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Oil Giant Shell Targets Commercial Production Of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Oil Giant Shell Targets Commercial Production Of Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Royal Dutch Shell wants to encourage airlines around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and plans to start producing low-carbon jet fuel at a commercial scale by 2025.
The lack of alternative technologies to jet fueled-engines has made the aviation sector to be one of the toughest sectors to tackle green house gas emissions even as the sector accounts for about 3 per cent of the total carbon emissions of the world.
The firm has set a target of producing 2 million tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2025 – which will be a ten-fold enhancement in capacity compared to the current total global output of the fuel today, said Shell, which is one of the largest oil traders of the world.
Shell said that up to 80 per cent of aviation emissions could be cut down by the use of SAF as it is produced from waste cooking oil, plants and animal fats.
The company wants green jet fuel, which can be blended with regular aviation fuel which leaves little need for changing plane engines, to account for up to 10 per cent of the global aviation fuel sales of the company by 2030, said Shell which currently only supplies SAF produced by others, including Finnish refiner Neste.
According to calculations of investment bank Jefferies, the average total global aviation fuel demand was at around 330 million tonnes in 2019 and only about 0.1 per cent of that volume is accounted for by SAF.
There are however several hurdles to growing the SAF market mainly because of the higher costs of green fuel – which currently can be as high as 8 times that of regular jet fuel, as well as limited availability of feedstock.
It wants others to follow its lead, Shell said.
"We also expect other companies to add to it with their own production plants," Anna Mascolo, head of Shell Aviation, said.
Last week, the United States announced that it wants to bring down greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector by 20 per cent by the end of the decade through significantly increased use of SAF.
There is a large overhaul currently ongoing at the Anglo-Dutch shell which is aimed at producing more low-carbon fuels such as biodiesel and SAF, as well as hydrogen, and the company now has set the target of reducing emissions from fuels it sells to net zero by 2050.
With respect to SAF, Shell plans to construct a biofuels processing plant at its Rotterdam refinery that will have an annual capacity of 820,000 tonnes and SAF will comprise more than half of the output. The plant is expected to start production in 2024.
Shell called on the aviation sector to bring down its emissions to net zero by 2050 in a new report on the decarbonisation of aviation published together with Deloitte.
The target set by the International Air Transport Association that represents most of the world's airlines, by that time is to only halve emissions.
"Sustainable aviation fuel, whether bio SAF or synthetic SAF, remains the single biggest solution," Mascolo said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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