Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, and Twelve Collaborate to Develop a New Type of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Published on: 15 July 2022
by KnowESG
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Alaska Airlines announced a new collaboration with Microsoft and Twelve, a carbon transformation technology firm, to improve sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

As part of the agreement, the airline will strive toward a demonstration flight with an E-Jet-powered aircraft. Following the completion of testing, the goal is to use some of the fuel to minimise the environmental impact of Microsoft's business travel.

SAF is derived from several sources, including captured methane from landfills, forestry waste, and agricultural residues, rather than fossil fuels. It offers the best chance of making a significant difference in the climatic impact of aviation during the next few decades.

It is a safe, approved fuel that meets all jet fuel requirements and can reduce carbon emissions by up to 80% over the lifecycle. SAF is a "drop-in fuel," which means it may be integrated into existing jet fuel transportation and storage systems, such as at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), where mixed fuel is transported through a pipeline to airports for use on aircraft.

SAF is a critical component in Alaska's five-part plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.

Since 2010, it has collaborated with a variety of public and business partners to establish regulations necessary to kickstart the nascent SAF market and develop innovative offtake agreements that foster collaborations to drive market development.

The airline was the first domestic carrier to fly many scheduled flights powered by a SAF blend in 2011, and as previously said, it uses blended SAF regularly in SFO.

Alaska was also a founding member of the Aviators Group of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Buyers Alliance, which was introduced at COP26, adding an operator's perspective to demand and supply agreements.

However, there is insufficient SAF volume to change the market toward cleaner fuels (less than 1% of total fuel available is SAF), and the price is three to five times that of conventional jet fuel.

Scaling SAF and making it commercially viable involves changes on multiple fronts, from securing legislation to support a federal Blenders Tax Credit to bringing new types of SAF to market from a range of feedstock sources.

Twelve's E-Jet contributes to addressing this latter issue by putting exciting new technology to work to promote new sources of SAF that make direct use of recovered carbon dioxide.

Source: Alaska Airlines

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