Delta has entered a long-term offtake agreement under which Delta will purchase 10 million gallons per year of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) from Gevo—specifically, Gevo’s Alcohol-to-Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK). The lifecycle carbon footprint of SAFs can be up to 75% less than conventional jet fuel.
Delta’s agreement with Gevo complements the airline’s recent $2-million investment in Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels, LLC for the feasibility study of a facility to produce sustainable aviation fuel and other biofuel products in Washington State.
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.—Graeme Burnett, Senior Vice President — Fuel Management at Delta Air Lines
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 jet fuel via fermentation to an intermediate alcohol (either ethanol or isobutanol) which is then further processed and upgraded into a mix of hydrocarbons. ATJ can be blended up to 50%. The proteins are fed to livestock.
After capturing and converting the livestock manure into biogas digestors that can displace fossil-based natural gas, the solids produced are used as fertilizer for the fields, thereby creating a continuous, renewable manufacturing cycle.
The sustainable aviation fuel is expected to be produced upon completion of an expansion to Gevo’s existing advanced biofuel production facility in Luverne, Minn. and is expected to be available for use by Delta between 2022-2023.
Since 2005, Delta has reduced its jet fuel consumption, leading to an 11% decrease in emissions as Delta works toward its long-term goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Delta is also investing in new, more fuel-efficient aircraft to optimize the use of jet fuel.
In July, Delta flew the first of 20 carbon-neutral new aircraft delivery flights from the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., utilizing sustainable aviation fuel and carbon offsets in coordination with Airbus and Air BP.