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Google joins Shell and Amex-powered SAF blockchain platform


Google joins Shell and Amex-powered SAF blockchain platform

Google has become the latest multinational corporate to join a Shell-backed blockchain platform that allows airlines to sell sustainable aviation biofuels (SAF) credits to business customers, with the revenue challenged into further scaling up the emerging market for lower emission aircraft fuels.

Source: edie

First launched last year by Shell and American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the Avelia programme aims to initially offer one million gallons of SAF credits to corporate customers, which it claims is roughly enough to power almost 15,000 business flights from London to New York City.

The initiative aims to connect firms with airlines willing to share the price premium on SAFs in order to slash emissions as well as ramp up demand in the emerging low-carbon biofuels market, according to Avelia, which claims it is one of the world's first blockchain-powered SAF ‘book and claims' solutions for corporates looking to decarbonise their business travel.

Google joins a clutch of major firms which are already taking part in the programme, including Bank of America and insurance giant Aon, alongside airlines such as Delta, Cathay Pacific, JetBlue and Japan Airlines.

Michael Terrell, senior director of climate and energy at Google said the use of SAF would play a "critical role" in helping drive down emissions from aviation.

Joining Amex GBT's sustainable aviation fuel program further represents Google's continued efforts to accelerate the global transition to a carbon-free future.

Michael Terrell, senior director of climate and energy at Google

It follows the results of Google's recent research collaboration with American Airlines and Breakthrough Energy, which found the global warming impact of aircraft contrails could be curbed significantly by harnessing AI data mapping to help pilots make improved flight path decisions.

SAF is increasingly seen by airlines as a key pillar in their efforts to reduce emissions from flight in the near-term, as such fuels - which can be made from a variety of sources, including waste oils, municipal waste, crops, animal fats, and even captured industrial gases - can offer up to 80 per cent lower emissions compared to conventional fossil-based jet fuels if a plane's engine is powered using SAF alone.

At present, however, SAF makes up less than 0.1 per cent of available aviation fuel worldwide, and it is also between two and eight times more expensive than conventional fossil-based jet fuels.

As such, there remain significant concerns over whether sufficient sustainable feedstocks can be sourced to meet the growing demand for aviation fuels and whether costs can be reduced to a level whereby airlines can embrace the technology at scale.

But Andrew Crawley, president at Amex GBT, argued SAF had a key role to play in decarbonising flight, which makes up around 90 per cent of business travel emissions, thereby underscoring the importance for firms in tackling their aviation carbon footprint.

Business travel is a crucial passenger segment for aviation, accounting for around 15 per cent of air travel globally and generating around 40 per cent of revenues. To have Google join our growing SAF program demonstrates how corporate collaboration can accelerate aviation's transition to net zero and enable more sustainable travel.

Andrew Crawley, president at Amex GBT, argued SAF

By drawing together Shell Aviation's airline customers and the purchasing power of Amex GBT's more than 19,000 corporate customers across 140 countries worldwide, the two firms said they hoped Avelia could help to ramp up demand and drive down costs at scale for SAF by sending an important investment signal to the market.

Amex GBT and Shell believe that they can combine the former’s 19,000 corporate customers to help scale the demand for SAFs.

Shell claims that its SAF can reduce lifecycle emissions by up to 80% when compared with traditional jet fuel if it is used neat.

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