A new partnership has been announced announced with Carbon War Room and SkyNRG – the two organisations coming together to make Seattle-Tacoma International Airport the world’s first to proactively explore long-term financing for sustainable aviation fuels.

The Port of Seattle, SkyNRG and Carbon War Room (CWR) announced their partnership along with plans to investigate long-term financing mechanisms that could supply all airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) with sustainable aviation fuels.

Sea-Tac is the first airport in the world to initiate this step – hoping soon to provide an airport-wide sustainable aviation fuel supply for all routine airline operations. 

“The demand for sustainable aviation fuel is there, but right now it is more expensive and complicated to source,” said Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton. “We want to make it simple and cost-effective for all airlines to access sustainable aviation fuels and ideally create a model that can work for airports around the United States."

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Presently biofuel supply agreements in the US are made through a small number of individual contracts between producers and airlines. A main aim of this new partnership is to accelerate the transition of sustainable aviation fuel from an alternative product (used by only a few select airlines) to a standard product that is used by all airlines at the airport.

The demand for sustainable aviation fuel is there, but right now it is more expensive and complicated to source

CWR and SkyNRG will work closely with Sea-Tac and evaluate funding mechanisms to cover the cost difference between sustainable aviation fuels and conventional fuels – with a longer-term ambition to strategise with decision makers regarding locally sourced fuel and future regional economic investments.

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“The UNFCCC Paris Agreement’s ambition of well-below two degrees temperature rise cannot be achieved without the participation of the aviation industry, with its emissions projected to consume approximately a quarter of the world’s remaining carbon budget by 2050,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room.

“The emissions trajectory provides a huge opportunity for market actors to accelerate aviation’s decarbonisation, and in the process, enhance their energy supply chains. These kinds of efforts, alongside ICAO’s global market-based measure, can help the industry reach the goals defined by the Paris Agreement,” said Jules.

Carbon War Room and SkyNRG are engaging airports to act as the key orchestrator of the procurement and delivery of sustainable aviation fuels, aggregating funds and demand for all stakeholders. The partnership has been formed on the belief that integrating the fuel directly into the on-airport fueling infrastructure will send a strong and consistent demand signal to the sustainable aviation fuel industry – boosting investor confidence and catalysing industry growth.

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“Airports are in a unique position, operating at the intersection between airlines, fuel suppliers, governments, passengers and local communities. They are perfectly positioned to support sustainable aviation fuels’ transition from isolated transactions to regular operations,” said Theye Veen, CFO of SkyNRG.

This is an important next step in a process that began late last year by the Port of Seattle with their committment of $250,000 to the Biofuel Infrastructure Feasibility Study in partnership with Alaska Airlines and Boeing. The study will assess the costs and infrastructure necessary to deliver sustainable aviation fuel to aircraft at Sea-Tac and is expected to be released early next year.

To learn more about Rocky Mountain Institute–Carbon War Room, read our series of blogs on virgin.com and head over to the website.