Emirates has done test flights using the Sustainable Aviation Fuel, seen as laying down a marker for the aviation industry's gradual switch to more environmental-linked norms. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Emirates airline has struck a deal whereby Shell Aviation will supply more than 300,000 gallons of blended SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) for use at the airline’s hub at Dubai International Airport.

The first SAF – a fuel that’s ticks the environmental sustainability box - delivery will likely start before year-end itself, making it the first time that this type of fuel is supplied through the DXB airport fuelling system.

Emirates will track SAF delivery and its use data through Avelia, one of the world’s first blockchain powered SAF solution platforms. Avelia is powered by Shell Aviation and Accenture, with support from Energy Web together with American Express Global business travel.

Through Avelia, Emirates will purchase the physical fuel - and ‘associated environmental attributes’ - to help decarbonise its Scope 1-related emissions.

Scope 3 environmental attributes associated to the same physical SAF will be purchased by Shell Corporate Travel to help decarbonise its related business travel.

“By using Avelia, the agreement demonstrates how book and claim solutions can enable airlines and corporates to both share the environmental benefits of SAF,” said a statement.

"We are proud to work in partnership with Shell to make a SAF supply available for Emirates in Dubai for the first time,” said Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates airline. “And to utilise the Avelia platform that provides business travellers the flexibility to align their sustainability targets and reduce their environmental footprint when travelling.

“We hope that this collaboration develops further to provide an ongoing future supply of SAF in our hub, as there are currently no production facilities for SAF in the UAE.”

Going SAF

The SAF can be blended with conventional jet fuel at a ratio of up to 50 per cent, creating ‘aviation fuel that is significantly lower in lifecycle carbon emissions’.

In its neat form, SAF can reduce lifecycle emissions by up to 80 per cent compared to conventional jet fuel.

“Enabling SAF to be supplied at DXB for the first time is an important milestone, and a perfect example of how the different parts of the aviation value chain have a role to play in unlocking progress on SAF,” said Chu Yong-Yi, Vice-President of Shell Corporate Travel.

“We hope that this can act as a springboard for more action on SAF across the aviation industry in the UAE and region, delivering another step forward for our net zero emissions journey."

Earlier this year, Emirates completed the first 100 per cent SAF-powered demonstration flight in the region. Its first flight powered by SAF blended with jet fuel took place in 2017, operating from Chicago on a Boeing 777. The airline has also uplifted SAF for flights from Stockholm, and currently operates flights from Paris, Lyon and Oslo with blended SAF.

We look forward to continue collaborating with like-minded organisations and government entities to look at viable solutions that introduce more SAF, a fuel that is currently extremely limited in supply, into the aviation fuel supply chain.

- Sir Tim Clark of Emirates airline

More to follow...