SkyNRG becomes the first sustainable jet biofuel supplier to achieve industry-approved RSB certification
Thu 7 March 2013 – Sustainable jet fuel company SkyNRG has become the first to offer airlines biofuels that have been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, an international multi-stakeholder standards initiative backed by the aviation industry. A guiding principle laid down by the sector is that jet biofuels must not compete with food and water resources and the RSB certification process is intended to ensure the entire length of the supply chain, from ‘feedstock to flight’, is audited to ensure strict sustainability criteria are met. Dutch-based SkyNRG says it is now the only fuel operator in the world that can deliver RSB certified renewable jet fuel at any airport in the world. As market leader, the company has supplied more than 20 aviation customers on five continents with fuels blended from used cooking oil.
SkyNRG is advised by an independent sustainability board that includes the Dutch wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-NL). Welcoming the certification approval, László Máthé of WWF International said: “Biofuels will be crucial in helping the aviation sector to reduce emissions. But they need to be environmentally and socially sustainable, and avoid negative indirect effects.
“The RSB standard should play a central role in the aviation sector’s efforts in aiming to develop a sustainable jet fuel supply. Today, SkyNRG is walking the high road and sets the benchmark for the rest of the industry.”
The move was also welcomed by the US environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “To stay on the cutting edge, airlines need a supply of biofuel that they know is certified to deliver on the promise of sustainability,” said NRDC’s Senior Resource Specialist, Debbie Hammel. “SkyNRG is breaking important new ground and sending a critical market signal to producers that RSB certification is the gold standard.”
Formerly affiliated to the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, as from the beginning of this year RSB has been reconstituted as a separate not-for-profit organisation, which will be based in Geneva. Certification services are provided through the RSB Services Foundation. Boeing, through a grant from its Corporate Citizenship Fund, is amongst those providing financial backing for the new entity.
“Aviation has placed a high importance on increasing the sustainability of its fuel supply, so by receiving certification through the RSB, SkyNRG is achieving an important milestone for itself and for the aviation industry,” commented Julie Felgar, Boeing Managing Director of Environment & Aviation Policy.
The certification system, says RSB, allows farmers, feedstock processors and biofuel producers to demonstrate that their operations comply with ambitious yet practical safeguards, including, but not limited to, the protection of natural or rare ecosystems, food security, and the respect of human rights to land, water and decent work conditions, and the management of water resources. The system is approved by the European Commission as proof of compliance with the Renewable Energy Directive.
“We are pleased that a full supply chain for RSB-certified jet fuel is now available for regular use in commercial aviation,” said Barbara Bramble, Chair of the RSB board and also Head of the International Climate and Energy Program at the National Wildlife Federation, which claims the largest environmental membership group in the United States. “SkyNRG can now assist airlines around the world to fulfil their pledges to reduce carbon emissions while meeting environmental and social safeguards.”
Dirk Kronemeijer, Managing Director of SkyNRG, said the company was now certified for all steps in the biofuel supply chain process, including separation, blending, and logistics.
Last week, Dynamic Fuels, a preferred supplier for SkyNRG and KLM, received RSB certification encompassing its Louisiana plant, where it turns animal fats, greases and vegetable oils into renewable, drop-in fuels. The plant has supplied the used cooking oil that has made up the blended biofuel for many of the commercial flights so far undertaken since ASTM approval.
The audit for both certifications was undertaken by RSB-accredited DNV Business Assurance.
SkyNRG says it is not committing to one single feedstock or technology and is currently developing local supply chains, which it terms BioPorts, centred around leading airports worldwide.