Airlines alone spent $140 billion on jet fuel in 2010. That cost grew to more than $200 billion in 2012.
The aim of Operation Sustainable Aviation Fuels is to significantly accelerate the uptake of lower-carbon alternative fuels in the aviation industry. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diversify the fuel supply, and narrow the price gap between conventional jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuels.
Aviation is responsible for approximately 2% of annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The industry is projected to grow by more than 5% annually and to generate over 5% of global emissions by 2050, if it continues with business as usual. In addition, aviation is highly vulnerable to fuel price fluctuations, with fuel representing one third of an average airline’s operating costs. Fuel costs, price volatility, and the lack of alternatives (e.g., there are no electric or fuel cell-powered commercial jets) have made enabling the development of sustainable aviation fuels a key priority for the industry.
Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) have been developed, certified for commercial use, and deployed internationally on more than 2,000 flights, mostly in a pilot or demonstration setting. These flights illustrate that the technological and operational hurdles to commercial use of SAF have been overcome. However, the supply of SAF has not yet achieved commercial scale due to the lack of significant and long-term demand signals. In turn, potential demand is impeded by procurement logistics and costs.
Through targeted convenings and intensive stakeholder engagement, the Carbon War Room has identified several key barriers to the commercialization of SAF and its rapid uptake in the marketplace. These barriers include:
- Persistent cost premium over conventional jet fuel
- Dispersed, small-scale, and intermittent demand
- Independent bespoke supply chains that lead to higher transaction costs
- Limited supply of fuels certified for use in commercial aviation
While the aviation industry can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions through enhanced efficiency and improved operational procedures, our activities focus on sustainable aviation fuels. We believe that while SAF is the most challenging emissions reduction opportunity, it also holds the greatest potential for achieving carbon-neutral growth in aviation by 2020 and beyond.
Successfully addressing these barriers will result in a commercial-scale SAF industry and a more sustainable aviation sector. A sustainable aviation sector is the only viable one. There are overriding environmental and economic drivers to reduce emissions from aviation. Virtually all aircraft CO2 emissions and approximately half of all airport CO2-equivalent emissions stem from the combustion of jet fuel, meaning that the widespread adoption of SAF will result in a significant reduction in the industry’s CO2 emissions.
To make this vision a reality, the Carbon War Room is working with industry experts and our partners to address these barriers. We have developed a simple and compelling business model that delivers commercial-scale aggregated demand for SAF, utilizing existing infrastructure. It uses airports as aggregators and orchestrators, thus creating bankable commitments for producers and lowering transaction costs for buyers. Watch this space for updates on the implementation of our innovative strategy.
Team and Partners
Petra Koselka, Senior Advisor, Aviation
Petra joined the Carbon War Room in Spring 2015 Here, she focuses on designing and delivering innovative business solutions in the aviation space, aimed at driving significant reductions in CO2. In this work, she builds off her broad Shell career, extensive networks, and solid understanding of the aviation sector.
At Shell, she worked in finance, oil supply and trading, strategy and economics in upstream, the Latin American business development team in gas & power, and corporate strategy. She set up Shell Ventures, a $200M venture capital fund aimed at making minority equity investments in early-stage technology companies of interest to Shell. She was also partner in Shell’s in-house strategy consulting unit. From 2005, Petra led business divisions with substantial profit targets and staff scope. She was responsible for Shell’s bulk fuels sales in North West Europe. From 2009–2014, she led Shell’s European aviation business, covering both sales of fuels and lubricants and some 200 airport location operations. She also sat on four supervisory boards (Greece, Russia, Germany, Norway). Her international career led her to live for more than 18 years outside the Netherlands, in London, the U.S., Latin America, and Africa.
Petra obtained an MBA at Harvard Business School in 1994 and graduated cum laude with a degree in economics from Tilburg University in 1989.
Adam Klauber, Principal
Adam Klauber develops projects to accelerate aviation carbon reduction. He brings more than 11 years of experience delivering aviation market-based solutions to the Carbon War Room.
Prior to his current position Adam led the aviation sustainability practice for ICF International. For ICF he led environmental performance teams including at Los Angeles International Airport. Adam served as Principal Investigator for the National Academy’s Airport Cooperative Research Program establishing a severe weather planning and climate adaptation toolkit. He also was a delegate to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s carbon working group.
Adam founded the Sustainable Transportation domain for the US Department of Transportation Volpe Center. At the Volpe Center he headed the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen Sustainable Building program, designed the nation’s first carbon neutral airport for Massachusetts DOT, authored agency strategic sustainability plans, and piloted a robust aircraft fuel burn carbon footprint methodology for the FAA Office of Environment and Energy.
Whenever possible Adam heads to the backcountry with his family, and is a former National Outdoor Leadership School and Outward Bound Instructor. He has been a Kinship Conservation and Presidential Management Fellow. Adam has a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree from Hobart College. He has earned numerous awards including the US DOT departmental individual “Sustainability Leader,” and the Federal Executive Board award for “Creativity and Innovation.”
Annie Benn, Associate
Annie Benn works on the development of Carbon War Room Operations, including research initiatives and stakeholder engagement. She is currently working with the Sustainable Aviation Fuels team, and with the Sustainable Finance Practice at Rocky Mountain Institute.
Annie received her B.A. from Swarthmore College, where she studied Russian Literature and Political Science; and received her Master of Public Administration from NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
SkyNRG was launched following the KLM biofuel test flight in November 2009. Founding partners are KLM, Argos Oil and Spring Associates.
SkyNRG is the global market leader for sustainable jet fuel, having supplied more than 20 airlines worldwide.SkyNRG sources, blends and distributes sustainable jet fuel, guarantees sustainability throughout the supply chain and helps to co-fund the premium. At the same time, SkyNRG focuses on developing regional supply chains that offer a real sustainable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. SkyNRG has its operations RSB certified and is structurally advised by an independent Sustainability Board in which the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL), Solidaridad and University of Utrecht hold a seat. www.skynrg.com