News | April 20, 2023

Delta, Shell Aviation SAF Agreement To Fuel LAX Hub And Accelerate Decarbonization Within Aviation

  • 10 million gallons of neat SAF to be supplied by Shell Aviation to Delta across two years for use at LAX, moving Delta one step closer to achieving 10% SAF usage by end of 2030.
  • Agreement includes testing Avelia platform to bring greater transparency to tracking and accounting companies’ carbon footprint from flying.

Delta is making another multi-million-dollar commitment in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on its quest to scale what is widely considered the airline industry’s largest proven decarbonization lever.

Delta will purchase up to 10 million gallons of neat SAF from Shell Aviation over a two-year period for use at its hub at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This will increase the global airline’s SAF commitments to over 200 million gallons – more than halfway to its goal of SAF comprising 10% of its fuel use annually by end of 2030*, and well on its way to 35% SAF use by 2035. Delta’s ambitions complement those of Shell which aims to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

“There isn’t enough SAF available today to fuel the world’s commercial airlines for a single day,” said Pam Fletcher, Delta’s chief sustainability officer. “That’s why Delta continues creating demand signals like this arrangement with Shell – to show this major decarbonization lever is worth investing in and growing. We can have a huge impact in just a few years if stakeholders and government work together to provide the same level of investment and incentives currently available for the fuel that runs our cars.”

Delta’s LAX hub will receive the blended SAF thanks to the State of California’s long-standing low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that provides incentives for producers to provide SAF to the state. Other states are now exploring similar SAF programs and tax incentives to complement federal policies that encourage the investment in and scaling of SAF.

SAF’s power is three-fold:

  • The lifecycle carbon emissions of producing neat SAF is up to 80%1 less than that of traditional jet fuel. And in some cases, like with SAF partner Gevo, producing SAF contributes to lowering the carbon footprint of agriculture, too.
  • It’s a safe, fully certified “drop-in fuel” that meets ASTM Jet A specifications, which means it can be transported using the existing fuel infrastructure to airports. Delta was a key player in proving this in 2022.
  • Neat SAF can be blended with conventional jet fuel and used in today’s aircraft engines – no modifications needed – at a ratio of up to 50%. Delta has been a leader in proving the technology through SAF engine tests at its state-of-the-art engine test cell in Atlanta.

Jan Toschka, President of Shell Aviation, added: “It’s brilliant to see Delta prioritize SAF, helping them to reduce lifecycle emissions while providing the demand that will help unlock further SAF production and scale supply. This marks another important development for the future of sustainable aviation, as ambitious offtake agreements like this can hold the key to driving the airline industry’s transition toward a more sustainable future.”

Delta’s commitment to transparency across its business includes sustainability. That’s why the agreement also includes Delta testing the tracking of Shell SAF delivery and its use data through Avelia, one of the world’s first blockchain-powered digital SAF solutions, launched by Shell Aviation and its partners last year. This technology is expected to enable Delta to track SAF and environmental data with full transparency to reduce its emissions as well as that of its corporate SAF customers while avoiding issues such as double-counting.

* subject to third-party investment and timely facility development.

About Delta Air Lines
Delta believes that better connecting the world means connecting people to a more sustainable future. Its journey to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 while delivering a more sustainable, elevated travel experience is rooted in its vision of eliminating its climate impact from flying and embedding sustainability in everything the airline does.

Delta is a leader in creating much-needed demand signals for the under-supplied sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) market by securing diverse SAF supplier agreements with partners including Aemetis, DG Fuels, Gevo, MWAB and Shell. Delta is also working closely with corporate customers to increase demand for SAF and help address the significant price premiums. In 2022, Delta established more than 30 corporate customers and travel agencies to help fund and apply SAF toward greenhouse gas emissions from their business travel on Delta.

The modernizing of the global carrier’s fleet with aircraft that are 25% more fuel efficient per seat mile than retiring aircraft is of many ways Delta reduced fuel consumption in 2022 by more than 10 million gallons. At the same time, Delta diverted over 2 million lbs of waste from landfills – 600,000 lbs of which were recycled. Delta’s employee-led business resource group called Green Up has more than 4,000 members who focus on new ways Delta can make a difference in the environmental sustainability space, like spearheading tree plantings and waterway cleanups in various Delta hub communities while defining solutions for reducing single-use plastics on Delta campuses.

These efforts and more are why Delta was awarded the Green Partner in Travel Award from the American Society of Travel Advisors and the North American Environmental Sustainability Airline/Airline Group of the Year Award.

About Shell Aviation
With one of the most extensive refueling networks in the world Shell Aviation supplies fuel, lubricants, and sustainable solutions in 45 countries. Customers range from the world’s largest airlines to private pilots.

Shell has set a clear target to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050. Sustainable aviation fuel is a key lever to achieve this, and Shell Aviation is investing in promising technologies to accelerate other production pathways such as Alcohol to Jet (AtJ) technology.

Shell Aviation’s production ambitions, together with its supply deals, position it strongly to support the decarbonization of aviation.

For more information, visit Shell Aviation and Flightpath.

Shell’s net-carbon intensity
Also, in this press release we may refer to Shell’s “net carbon intensity”, which include Shell’s carbon emissions from the production of our energy products, our suppliers’ carbon emissions in supplying energy for that production and our customers’ carbon emissions associated with their use of the energy products we sell. Shell only controls its own emissions. The use of the term Shell’s “net carbon intensity” is for convenience only and not intended to suggest these emissions are those of Shell plc or its subsidiaries.

Shell’s net zero-emissions target
Shell’s operating plan, outlook and budgets are forecasted for a ten-year period and are updated every year. They reflect the current economic environment and what we can reasonably expect to see over the next ten years. Accordingly, they reflect our Scope 1, Scope 2 and net carbon intensity (NCI) targets over the next ten years. However, Shell’s operating plans cannot reflect our 2050 net-zero emissions target and 2035 NCI target, as these targets are currently outside our planning period. In the future, as society moves towards net-zero emissions, we expect Shell’s operating plans to reflect this movement. However, if society is not net zero in 2050, as of today, there would be significant risk that Shell may not meet this target.

Source: Shell