Google it for SAF


Online technology giant Google is joining one of the world’s largest Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) programmes, as part of its pledge to reach net zero across for all its operations by 2030.

Launched last year with 1m gallons of SAF available for corporate customers – enough to fuel nearly 15,000 business trips from London to New York – the programme is led by American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) and Shell Aviation. Other partners include Aon, Bank of America, Delta, Cathay Pacific, JetBlue and Japan Airlines.

Michael Terrell, senior director of climate and energy, Google said SAF will play a critical role in helping the aviation sector to decarbonise. “Joining Amex GBT’s sustainable aviation fuel programme further represents Google’s continued efforts to accelerate the global transition to a carbon-free future.”

Andrew Crawley, president, Amex GBT welcomed Google to the programme. “Business travel is a crucial passenger segment for aviation, accounting for around 15% of air travel globally and generating around 40% of revenues,” he said. “To have Google join our growing SAF programme demonstrates how corporate collaboration can accelerate aviation’s transition to net zero and enable more sustainable travel.”

SAF can reduce life cycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared with traditional fossil-based fuels, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). But it represents less than 0.1% of available aviation fuel and is two- to eight-times more expensive than conventional fossil-based jet fuel, limiting production and demand.

Jan Toschka, president, Shell Aviation said: “Considering Google’s stature and prominence, this announcement represents an important milestone for decarbonsing aviation.” Scaling the uptake of SAF will only be possible if all parts of the aviation value chain work together, he added. “We’re thrilled to work with such an influential and forward-thinking company.”

The SAF programme uses Avelia, one of the world’s first blockchain-powered digital SAF book-and-claim solutions for business travel. Avelia uses blockchain to track the environmental attributes of SAF delivered into the aviation fuel network. “Environmental attributes can be allocated to both airlines and business customers, while avoiding issues such as double counting,” according to Amex GBT.

This means corporates can confidently report verified lifecycle emissions reductions from SAF today, while working to establish sufficient SAF to meet their future net zero or science-based targets.”