For the first time in aviation history a CORSIA certified batch of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) was delivered to a commercial airline. Neste, the world’s leading SAF producer, delivered a batch of its Neste My Sustainable Fuel ™ to American Airlines at San Francisco International Airport. This was part of a pilot to certify SAF as a CORSIA eligible fuel that can be used by an airline to meet its emissions obligation under CORSIA.
The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (“CORSIA”) is a carbon offset and carbon reduction scheme to lower CO2 emissions for international flights, to curb the aviation impact on climate change. It was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). But until now, no airline in the world has taken delivery of CORSIA-certified SAF, making this delivery a first.
Neste has been working together closely with aviation stakeholders to accelerate the use of SAF and has a long-standing partnership with American Airlines, the world’s largest airline when measured by fleet size. Both companies support CORSIA’s emissions reduction goals, but as the SAF certification process under CORSIA is new, they decided to set up a pilot project to certify a batch of SAF and use that process to understand its challenges.
“Sustainable aviation fuel is widely acknowledged as a key element in achieving the aviation industry’s goals of carbon neutral growth from 2020 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050,” says Thorsten Lange, Neste’s Executive Vice President, Renewable Aviation. “The pilot with American Airlines was a perfect opportunity for proving the feasibility of delivering CORSIA certified SAF and gaining useful insights into setting up the process and the challenges we need to overcome to enable the implementation of CORSIA.”
“American is proud to partner with Neste to demonstrate how SAF can meet the robust sustainability standards that ICAO has established for CORSIA,” said Jill Blickstein, Head of ESG at American. “Our work together will also help demonstrate to American’s customers that SAF can meet these high standards.”
Compliance with the CORSIA sustainability criteria requires independent attestation by an ICAO-approved Sustainability Certification Scheme (SCS). Neste decided to pursue this certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system.
“Cooperation with American, ISCC and all others involved was absolutely critical in achieving this important milestone,” Thorsten Lange continues. “We will be sharing our experiences in ICAO’s upcoming Environmental Report. Because in the end, we need cooperation with all stakeholders within the aviation industry to achieve the emission reductions.”
Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is a today solution for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of flying by up to 80%* over the fuel’s life cycle compared to fossil jet fuel. Neste-produced SAF is made from sustainably sourced, 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials. As a drop-in fuel it can be used with existing aircraft engines and airport fuel infrastructure, requiring no extra investment to them.
*) Calculated with established life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, such as CORSIA methodology.