Airbus and the Montreal-based SAF+ Consortium have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate with major Canadian aviation industry players on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) development and production in North America, the European airframer said Thursday. Airbus added it will invest through “in-kind” contributions, which consist of technical and certification expertise, economic analysis, communications, and advocacy.
The announcement marks the launch of what the partners call a new Canadian ecosystem dedicated to stimulating the production of SAF and connecting Airbus with prominent Canadian companies and industry groups.
"Airbus, alongside many of its customers, is more than convinced the use of SAF is an essential pillar to support the aviation industry’s decarbonization journey,” said Airbus new energy program manager Steven Le Moing. “Building this new Canadian ecosystem alongside the SAF+ Consortium is a key milestone as we continue to push to reach our global 2050 CO2 emissions-reduction targets. This partnership is a perfect example of how Airbus is actively shaping decarbonization discussions in North America, while demonstrating our commitment to making SAF an economically viable solution available to our customers.”
The SAF+ Consortium brings together several Quebec-based aerospace companies and research institutions, such as Air Transat, Hydro-Quebec, Aéroports de Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal, and Aéro Montréal. The consortium aims to make Montreal into a sustainable aviation hub through the construction and subsequent operation of a pilot SAF production plant.
Situated close to Montreal, the pilot plant will produce a type of SAF known as Power-to-Liquid (PtL)—an e-fuel consisting of captured carbon dioxide (CO2) synthesized with renewable (green) hydrogen. The process involves capturing CO2 from large industrial emitters and converting it into an alternative fuel. Experts in the field estimate the fuel produced by SAF+ will leave an 80 percent lower carbon footprint than conventional jet fuel.
SAF+ intends to produce SAF as early as the second half of this year at its first pilot plant. A commercial project calls for the production of 30 million liters in 2025.