Emirates has signed an agreement with Shell Aviation for the supply of more than 300,000 gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel for use at its hub in Dubai, as it strives to reduce its carbon emissions.
The first delivery under the agreement is expected to start before the end of the year, making it the first time that the clean fuel is supplied through the Dubai International Airport's fuelling system, Emirates said on Monday.
“We hope that this collaboration develops further to provide an ongoing future supply of SAF in our hub, as there are currently no production facilities for SAF in the UAE,” said Tim Clark, the airline's president.
“Aviation plays a vital role in Dubai and the wider UAE economy, and we look forward to continue collaborating with like-minded organisations and government entities to look at viable solutions that introduce more SAF, a fuel that is currently extremely limited in supply, into the aviation fuel supply chain and support Emirates’ efforts to reduce emissions across our operations.”
SAF, which refers to alternative fuels made from renewable sources that are used to power aircraft, is crucial for the global aviation industry to reach its net-zero goal by 2050.
However, its adoption is still in its early stages due to small-scale production and the clean fuel's higher cost, compared with conventional kerosene.
The International Air Transport Association estimates that SAF could contribute about 65 per cent of the reduction in emissions needed by the aviation industry to reach its net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.
Emirates said its SAF supply agreement with Shell Aviation was part of an environmental strategy focused on emissions reduction, responsible consumption and the conservation of wildlife and habitats.
Under the agreement, Emirates will track the delivery of the clean fuel and its use data through Avelia, a blockchain powered digital book-and-claim platform for business travel.
Shell, Accenture and American Express Global Business Travel jointly launched Avelia in June 2022, according to Shell's website.
Through Avelia, Emirates will buy the sustainable fuel and associated environmental attributes to help decarbonise its Scope-1 related emissions, the airline said.
Scope 1 refers to greenhouse gas emissions directly related to a company’s operating activities.
The Scope-3 environmental attributes associated to the same SAF will be purchased by Shell Corporate Travel to help decarbonise its related business travel.
Scope 3 refers to other indirect greenhouse gas emissions.
“By using Avelia, the agreement demonstrates how book-and-claim solutions can enable airlines and corporates to both share the environmental benefits of SAF,” Emirates said.
Emirates' agreement with Shell Aviation marks a “step forward” for the aviation industry in the UAE, said Chu Yong-Yi, vice president of Shell Corporate Travel.
“Enabling SAF to be supplied at DXB for the first time is an important milestone, and a perfect example of how the different parts of the aviation value chain have a role to play in unlocking progress on SAF,” Mr Chu said.
“We hope that this can act as a springboard for more action on SAF across the aviation industry in the UAE and region, delivering another step forward for our net-zero emissions journey.”
In May, Emirates said it had set aside $200 million to fund research and development projects focused on advanced fuel technology that can reduce the environmental impact of commercial aviation.
In January, Emirates successfully completed a demonstration flight powered by SAF in one of two engines of a Boeing 777-300ER plane that flew for more than an hour over Dubai's coastline.
The airline’s first flight powered by SAF blended with jet fuel took place in 2017 – on a Boeing 777 that flew from Chicago.
Emirates also fuelled with a SAF blend for flights from Stockholm to Dubai, it said. It currently operates flights from Paris, Lyon and Oslo with blended SAF.