Laying claim as the first airline in the world to invest in biofuel on a large scale, KLM has signed a 10-year agreement for the development and purchase of 75,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) a year. The large biofuel uptake marks a concrete step toward fulfilling the Dutch carrier’s sustainability ambitions and will reduce its CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes a year, which KLM president and CEO Pieter Elbers noted equates to the emissions released by 1,000 KLM flights between Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro.
KLM serves as one of the partners in a collaborative project—called DSL-01—that will develop Europe’s first dedicated plant for the production of SAF. Schedules call for the facility, to be based in Delfzijl in the northeast of the Netherlands, to open in 2022 and produce 100,000 tonnes of SAF a year, as well as 15,000 tonnes of bioLPG as a byproduct. Other partners in the project include Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, SkyNRG, an SAF provider based in the Netherlands, and SHV Energy, a global LPG distribution company. The latter will purchase the bioLPG produced; SkyNRG will build the new facility.
The feedstocks used for production in DSL-01 will be waste and residue streams, such as used cooking oil, coming predominantly from regional industries. The facility will run on sustainable hydrogen produced using water and wind energy. SAF delivers a CO2 reduction of at least 85 percent compared with fossil fuel and contributes to a significant decrease in ultra-fine particles and sulfur emissions.
The partners call the project an “important step” for the industry to accommodate the need for carbon emissions reduction on the one hand and the increasing demand for sustainable aviation fuel on the other. DSL-01 represents an investment of €260 million ($290 million).