US-headed air carrier Delta Air Lines Inc., has recently entered into a long-term biofuel off-take agreement with advanced biofuels and biochemicals process developer Gevo Inc., under which Delta will purchase 10 million (US) gallons (≈ 37.8 million litres) per annum of advanced renewable biofuels from Gevo.
Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) provide significant environmental benefits because the lifecycle carbon footprint can be up to 75 percent less than conventional jet fuel. Delta’s agreement with Gevo complements the airline’s recent US$2 million investment in Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels, LLC for the feasibility study of a facility to produce SAF and other biofuel products in Washington State.
The airline’s investment in sustainable fuel is only one example of Delta’s work to positively impact the environment, maintain its commitment to carbon-neutral growth and reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2050.
Long term investments such as our agreement with Gevo are critical to Delta’s goal to lower our carbon footprint while planning for a more sustainable future. Fuel is an airline’s biggest area of impact and therefore presents our greatest opportunity to drive solutions that care for the planet, commented Graeme Burnett, Senior Vice President – Fuel Management at Delta Air Lines.
High greenhouse gas reduction
Powered by inedible, industrial corn products, or no. 2 corn, Gevo’s patented process separates the sugar from the proteins in the corn product. The sugars are then used to make the biojet fuel, while the proteins are fed to livestock.
After converting the livestock manure into biogas using anaerobic digesters, the biogas can displace fossil-based natural gas while the remaining digestate is used as fertilizer for the fields, thereby creating a continuous, renewable manufacturing cycle.
We have such great potential in our business system to break paradigms as to what is possible. We are working to create a business system that works hand-in-hand with agriculture to improve sustainability and lower the carbon emissions of jet fuel while producing protein for food chain use. Not only does our system produce enormous quantities of protein, but we are also working to get off the grid by installing wind power for electricity and manure digesters to produce biogas. We want our Luverne Facility to embody the ‘circular economy’, said Dr Patrick R. Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer.
The sustainable aviation fuel is expected to be produced upon completion of an expansion to Gevo’s existing advanced biofuel production facility in Luverne, Minnesota (MN), and is expected to be available for use by Delta between 2022-2023. The off-take agreement term is for five years from the first delivery date with an option to extend the agreement.