Air Transat inks agreement to purchase sustainable aviation fuel from Canadian power-to-liquid start-up
Fri 17 July 2020 – Leisure carrier Air Transat has signed an offtake agreement, claimed to be the first in Canada, to purchase a significant portion of synthetic jet fuel from future production by the SAF+ Consortium. The power-to-liquid (PtL) fuel will be derived by capturing waste CO2 from a chemical plant located in Montreal East and use water and renewable electricity to produce drop-in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Construction of a pilot plant is due for completion in 2021, with plans by the Quebec company for a pre-commercial demonstration plant to follow around 2025. The demo plant is expected to capture 10,000 tonnes of CO2e per year, which should produce around 3 million litres annually, it said. Finance for the pilot plant is coming from a mix of public funding through Natural Resources Canada and equity investment from partners and private sources.
The PtL process takes CO2 from the atmosphere or other sources and is mixed with hydrogen obtained by electrolysis of water to produce a syngas, which is then introduced into a Fischer-Tropsch reactor where liquid fuels are generated through a catalytic synthesis process. Such fuels are already approved in blends up to 50% with conventional jet kerosene. SAF+ estimates its product will have 80% lower life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuel.
“Capturing CO2 which should have otherwise been released in the atmosphere and give it a second use only makes sense,” said Keith Lawless, Senior Director, Environment, ETS and Strategic Projects at Air Transat. “Not only do you reduce your footprint but you also achieve a substantial reduction of GHG, helping Quebec and Canada meet its climate change objectives.”
Added Jean-François Lemay, President of Air Transat: “We are committed to offering our clients a low-carbon footprint travelling experience, while achieving our environmental obligations.”
The CO2 feedstock will come from the smokestack of the Parachem chemical plant, reported SAF+ Consortium CEO Jean Paquin. “As for the electricity, Quebec has a renewable supply – mainly from hydro – of green energy at a very cheap rate,” he said.
Earlier this year, the company signed an agreement with Ontario firm Zeton for the engineering, procurement and construction of the pilot plant.
“If everything goes to plan, we expect to be building a large-scale commercial plant with a 30 million litre capacity by 2030,” forecast Paquin.
As well as Air Transat and Parachem, other partners in the project include CCG, Aéroports de Montréal, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, CIRAIG and Valorisation Carbone Québec Project.
“The demand for SAF in the aviation sector will almost double annually for the next 30 years. So solutions such as the production of SAF in Montreal will put Quebec and Canada on the map, while providing great jobs for the future,” said Alexandru Iordan, Chief Technology Officer of SAF+ Consortium.