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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

ABB, Cap Clean Energy partner to support SAF

ABB, Cap Clean Energy partner to support SAF
Ben Venter (left), VP of ABB Energy Industries Canada, and Steve Polvi, Co-Founder and CEO of Cap Clean Energy (photo courtesy ABB).

In Canada, global electrification and automation major ABB has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with low-carbon energy company Cap Clean Energy Corporation to collaborate on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production sites in the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

As part of the agreement, ABB will explore how its automation, electrification, and digital technology – including the “ABB Ability System 800xA” distributed control system and eHouse modular substation solutions – can optimize biofuel facilities.

Once operational, the Cap Clean Energy facilities will produce ultra-low carbon SAF from non-combustion conversion of cereal crop by-product feedstocks that do not compete with food.

The sites will also incorporate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

We are proud to collaborate with Cap Clean Energy and realize our joint vision of driving scale on sustainable fuels as part of the energy transition. The potential for SAF has never been greater, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to supporting a low-carbon future with innovative clean technology, said Brandon Spencer, President of ABB Energy Industries.

Increase in SAF production to meet demand

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), for the aviation industry to reach net zero targets by 2050, a substantial increase in production will be needed to create the blend of 65 percent aviation fuel required to meet demand.

Progress is being made, with SAF volumes reaching over 600 million liters in 2023 – double the amount produced in 2022 – with an expectation to triple in 2024.

As part of its Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2023 report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says aviation accounts for two percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions, having grown faster in recent decades than rail, road, or shipping.

Currently, SAF accounts for less than 0.1 percent of all aviation fuels consumed. Thus, to increase its use to 10 percent by 2030, in line with the Net Zero Emissions Scenario, investment in capacity needs to be ramped up alongside supportive policies.

We are delighted to collaborate with ABB, which has a long history of delivering integrated automation, electrical, and digital technology that drives operational efficiency. Together, we will work on enabling the production and delivery of SAF and RD into strategic North American markets, supporting society with more sustainable energy, and allowing the aviation industry to achieve its net zero goals, said Steve Polvi, CEO of Cap Clean Energy.

The Cap Clean Energy biofuel facilities will be designed as modular systems capable of rapid production scale-up.

The concept can then be applied as part of a wider, long-term rollout across a network of integrated and connected biorefineries.

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