Fighting emissions with sustainable fuel

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has signed a fuel deal to help drastically reduce its CO2 emissions. The airline, which is headquartered in Amstelveen, has committed to developing and purchasing 75,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) a year for the next decade. KLM is the first airline in the world to invest in sustainable aviation fuel on this scale. The fuel will be produced by SkyNRG, which will develop the world’s first SAF production plant in the Dutch city of Delfzijl. The facility is schedules to open in 2022. The new fuel will help the airline contribute to the aviation industry’s “Smart and Sustainable” action plan, which aims for a 35% reduction in Dutch civil-aviation emissions for flights originating in the Netherlands by 2030.

The deal is another boon for the Amsterdam Area’s reputation as a hub for businesses working in sustainability and impact. KLM’s commitment to reducing its CO2 emissions fits in with the city region’s inspiring, innovative and active ecosystem for social enterprises. Amsterdam Impact acts as a helpful guide to this ecosystem.

Reducing CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes a year In a press release, KLM’s president and CEO Pieter Elbers said: “The advent of aviation has had a major impact on the world, offering a new means of bringing people closer together. This privilege goes hand in hand with huge responsibility towards our planet. KLM takes this very seriously and has therefore invested in sustainability for many years. By joining hands with other parties, we can build a plant that will accelerate the development of sustainable aviation fuel…This will reduce our CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes a year, which is equal to the emissions released by 1,000 KLM flights between Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro.”

From cooking oil to jet fuel

SAF is predicted to play an important role in helping the commercial aviation industry reduce emissions. Currently, not enough SAF is produced to meet demand and the new plant (which will also benefit from investments made by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) will help alleviate the shortage. Starting in 2022, it will create 100,000 tonnes of SAF each year, helping the industry cut emissions by 270,000 tonnes annually. 

Waste and residue streams will serve as the feedstocks used to produce SAF and include used cooking oil. The plant will run on sustainable hydrogen created with wind and water energy. Additionally, using SAF, instead of traditional fossil fuels, will significantly decrease emissions of dangerous/polluting? sulphur and ultra-fine particles. 

Meeting the highest sustainability standards

To ensure the fuel meets the highest sustainability standards, SkyNRG’s independent sustainability board will provide input and advice, ensuring it doesn’t negatively impact the environment or food supply. No food crops, including palm and soy oil, will be used to make the oil. The board will include representatives from several organisations, including the European Climate Foundation and WWF International. SkyNRG also plans to have the fuel certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.

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