SkyNRG and KLM announce project to build Dutch 35 million gallon sustainable aviation fuel facility
The site for the new DSL-01 SAF facility
Tue 28 May 2019 – SkyNRG is to lead a project to build a commercial-scale sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility in the Netherlands, that it says will be the first of its kind in the world. Scheduled to open in 2022, the plant will specialise in producing SAF, bioLPG and naphtha, primarily using waste and residue streams, such as used cooking oil, that will come from regional industries. The facility will run on sustainable hydrogen produced using water and wind energy, says the company. The SAF to be produced at the facility, named DSL-01, claims a CO2 emissions reduction of around 85% compared to its fossil equivalent and has been assessed by the RSB in its planning phase to ensure it complies with RSB’s best-in-class sustainability standard. The plant is expected to produce 100,000 tonnes of SAF annually and KLM has committed to taking 75,000 tonnes a year for a 10-year period.
SkyNRG says the 100,000 tonnes of SAF annual production – around 35 million US gallons – will mean a CO2 emissions reduction by the aviation industry of 270,000 tonnes, as well as contribute to a significant decrease in ultra-fine particles and sulphur emissions. The plant, to be sited at Delfzijl, a seaport on the Dutch north-east coast, will also produce 15,000 tonnes of bioLPG as a result of a purchase agreement and investment in the project by SHV Energy, a global distributor of LPG.
In addition to SkyNRG, KLM and SHV Energy, other partners taking part in various phases of the project will come from the Netherlands and beyond, including EIT Climate-KIC, Royal Schiphol Group, GROElfonds, NV NOM, Groningen Seaports, Nouryon, Gasunie, Arcadis, TechnipFMC, Haldor Topsoe, Desmet Ballestra, Susteen Technologies and MBP Solutions.
“For us and our partners, this project is an important milestone in further upscaling the market for sustainable aviation fuel,” commented Maarten van Dijk, Executive Director of SkyNRG. “We are the first to take a step on this scale and we hope it will serve as an example to the rest of the industry in the transition towards a sustainable future for commercial aviation.”
KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said the 75,000-tonne purchase would reduce the airline’s CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes a year, equal to the emissions released by 1,000 flights between Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro.
“I am proud of our collaboration with SkyNRG and SHV Energy to launch a project that will see the development of the first European production facility for sustainable aviation fuel,” he said. “The advent of aviation has had a major impact on the world, offering a new means of bringing people closer together. This privilege goes hand in hand with huge responsibility towards our planet. KLM takes this very seriously and has therefore invested in sustainability for many years. By joining hands with other parties, we can build a plant that will accelerate the development of sustainable aviation fuel.”
SkyNRG Executive Director Theye Veen told GreenAir the remaining 25,000 tonnes would be sold to its other customers. He said pre-engineering of the plant had already taken place and the front-end engineering design (FEED) phase had just started. With all the partners now selected and contracted, he expected construction to start in early 2020. Round A funding amounting to €10 million ($11m) for the FEED phase from investors SkyNRG, KLM, SHV Energy and Schiphol Airport was in place, he confirmed, and Round B finance of €260 million ($290m) for construction is due to be finalised in the coming months.
SkyNRG’s independent sustainability board, which advises on sustainability standards and includes representatives from WWF International, the European Climate Foundation, Solidaridad Network and the University of Groningen, stresses the waste stream-derived fuel will have no negative environmental impacts and there will be no use of food crops such as soya oil and palm oil, or by-products such as PFAD and POME.
A member of the board, WWF’s Jenny Walther-Thoss said: “From the first plans in 2016, this project has been thoroughly discussed with the board. We are comfortable with the steps taken to safeguard its sustainability performance, in particular on the strict feedstock sourcing strategy.”
The sustainability of the supply chain and related products will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).
“Our standards are globally considered to be the best in class,” said Rolf Hogan, Executive Director of RSB. “Our 12 comprehensive principles include greenhouse gas emissions, human and labour rights, practices to maintain soil health and water use, food security, and rural and social development. None of the other standards use such a broad range of criteria. We are pleased and proud that KLM and SkyNRG are committed to RSB certification of the fuel.”
Responded SkyNRG’s van Dijk: “RSB certification is key to demonstrating our commitment to the highest levels of environmental and social sustainability.”
SkyNRG and Schiphol Airport are also to be involved in a project just announced that will study the production of SAF from CO2, water and electricity. Rotterdam The Hague Airport, part of the Royal Schiphol Group, and a European consortium led by EDL Anlagenbau will focus on the development of a technology that would enable the production of jet kerosene from captured CO2 and solar energy.
To date, kerosene produced from this method has been limited to a laboratory scale of a few litres per day but, eventually, the study is expected to result in the construction of a small installation in the grounds of the airport capable of producing 1,000 litres a day.
According to the partners, the process involves linking together a series of innovative but proven techniques. First, CO2 from outside air is filtered with the Direct Air Capture technology from Climeworks to produce a gas that is then transformed into syngas by electrolysis cells from Sunfire. The syngas is then processed into synthetic oil by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, provided by Ineratec. Finally, EDL converts this synthetic oil into kerosene. As the energy required for the process will come from solar panels at the airport, it is fully sustainable.
SkyNRG will be responsible for the study’s commercialisation strategy and Dutch low-cost airline Transavia has already indicated its commitment to be the first customer for the sustainable fuel if it reaches maturity.