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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Cepsa and Volotea partner to propel SAF

Cepsa and Volotea partner to propel SAF
Volotea and Cepsa partner to boost sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) research and production (photo courtesy Cepsa).

In Spain, multi-energy major Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A.U. (Cepsa), a Mubadala Group company and compatriot low-cost air carrier Volotea S.L have reached an agreement to accelerate the decarbonization of air transport by researching and producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

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Both companies are prioritizing the development of sustainable fuels to further reduce the carbon footprint of air transport and contribute to the fight against climate change.

The partnership involves Cepsa supplying SAF to Volotea, starting in 2025, for the airline’s routes in Spain, where it operates at 22 airports, including Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, Tenerife Sur, and Gran Canaria.

According to Cepsa, this SAF will be produced from organic waste, such as used cooking oils (UCO) and agricultural waste thereby promoting the circular economy, reducing waste to landfills, and reducing aircraft emissions by up to 90 percent compared to fossil fuels.

The partnership will also work on the development of new energy alternatives, such as renewable hydrogen, and the electrification of Volotea’s ground fleets, which include supply vehicles and those for baggage loading and unloading and aircraft assistance.

Aligned with EU and corporate decarbonization strategies

The agreement is in line with the European Commission’s “Fit for 55” package, and the “RefuelEU Aviation” legislation that aims to boost SAF in the EU to 2 percent use by 2025 and 6 percent by 2030, before increasing to 70 percent by 2050, of which half must be synthetic fuels.

It also supports several of the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production), and SDG 13 (Climate action).

This new partnership consolidates the ambition of Cepsa, one of the main producers and suppliers of aviation fuels in the Spanish market, to become a leader in the clean energy sector.

The multi-energy major aspires to be the leading biofuel producer in Spain and Portugal by 2030, with a production capacity of 2.5 million tonnes annually, focusing particularly on sustainable aviation, with a production capacity of 800 000 tonnes of SAF every year.

Cepsa has established an ambitious roadmap to cut its emissions, placing it among the leading companies in its sector. Specifically, by 2030, it will reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 55 percent compared to 2019 and the carbon intensity index of its products by 15-20 percent, and it aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

As a leading energy supplier to the aviation sector in Spain, we are committed to helping our customers decarbonize their business. SAF makes it possible to greatly reduce aircraft emissions without making any changes to their engines, and it has the same specifications as conventional kerosene in terms of safety and quality, said Tobi Pardo, Aviation Director at Cepsa.

This agreement reaffirms Volotea’s sustainability strategy, which has implemented more than 50 initiatives to date to reduce its carbon footprint per passenger kilometer by over 40 percent between 2012 and 2021.

In 2022, Volotea became the first airline to be audited by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection, and certification services, in its Voloterra sustainability program.

The audit confirmed that Volotea is on track to slash its carbon footprint by cutting its CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer by 50 percent by 2030, compared to 2012.

Volotea has operated a special service between France and Germany using SAF since 2022, and it invests in companies and technologies to achieve greener and more efficient air operations.

With this agreement, we have taken another step forward in our commitment to make aviation sustainable, and it follows the efforts we have been making as a company for many years to foster the transition to a decarbonized airline industry. We believe sustainable fuels in aircraft will play a key role in this strategy, which is why at Volotea, we started using SAF in 2022 on all flights in the special service we operate between France and Germany. Through partnerships like this one with Cepsa, we aim to collaborate so that these fuels (now difficult to access) can be developed and made mainstream as soon as possible, said Carlos Muñoz, Founder and CEO of Volotea.

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