The Colonial Pipeline—the 5,500-mile petroleum fuel transport system extending from Houston, Texas, up the East Coast of the U.S. to its terminus in Linden, New Jersey—can now transport sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Its operator noted that customers will be able to ship up to a 50 percent SAF blend from any of the pipeline origin points to any destination along the length of the network. Across the fuel spectrum, the pipeline has a flow capacity of three million gallons a day.
“Colonial Pipeline is excited to provide this new service to meet our customers’ evolving need for renewable fuels,” said Aaron Smith, the pipeline operator’s business development manager. “We are ideally situated to safely and efficiently supply fuel with direct connections to seven East Coast international airports, along with transport connections to other large and mid-market airports.”
Among those directly connected are Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International, Charlotte/Douglas International, Piedmont Triad International, Baltimore Washington International, and Washington Dulles International. Products carried on the pipeline are also used to supply airports in other major areas such as Philadelphia and New York.
SAF is a drop-in replacement for standard jet fuel and forms one of the main pillars in the aviation industry's decarbonization aspirations. In its unblended state, it can provide lifecycle carbon emissions savings of up to 80 percent.
“This is a positive step forward for the future of SAF and sustainability in aviation,” explained Muneeb Ahmed, Avfuel’s director of trading and logistics. “By our estimates, Colonial Pipeline supplied over 50 percent of the roughly seven billion gallons of jet fuel that was consumed on the East Coast in 2021. We expect that this should encourage more production facilities to come online in the Gulf Coast region to help fulfill the aviation industry’s pledge to consume at least three billion gallons of SAF across the U.S. by 2030.”
A Colonial spokesperson told AIN that the company currently will accept fuel blends containing up to 50 percent SAF, and while it is prepared to begin shipping immediately it does not yet have any confirmed shipments of SAF scheduled.
“We are encouraged to see another sign that the industry understands SAF is jet-A, but has additional significant environmental benefits. The industry has been gearing up for SAF deployment and uptake, and supply-chain expansions like this will help in the distribution of SAF as more is produced,” stated National Air Transportation Association president and CEO Timothy Obitts.