Delta signed an agreement with sustainable low-carbon biofuel and chemicals company Gevo to purchase 10 million gallons per year of their advanced renewable biofuels.
Englewood, Colorado-based Gevo uses a patented process to separate the sugar from the proteins in inedible, industrial corn products, called no. 2 field corn. The proteins go to feeding livestock while the sugars are used to make jet fuel.
Gevo says that after capturing and converting livestock manure into biogas digestors that can displace fossil-based natural gas, the solids produced are used as fertilizer for fields, which creates a continuous renewable manufacturing cycle.
Once Gevo’s expansion to its existing advanced biofuel production facility in Luverne, Minnesota is completed, the company expects to begin producing aviation fuel and make it available for use by Delta between 2022 and 2023.
“Sustainable aviation fuels provide significant environmental benefits because the lifecycle carbon footprint can be up to 75% less than conventional jet fuel,” Delta said.
The airline says this latest investment supports its commitment to reducing emissions 50% by 2050. In September, the airline invested $2 million to collaborate with Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels to study the feasibility of a facility that could produce biofuel from forest floor debris.
“Fuel is an airline’s biggest area of impact,” said Graeme Burnett, senior vice president of fuel management at Delta Air Lines. “Long-term investments such as our agreement with Gevo are critical to Delta’s goal to lower our carbon footprint while planning for a more sustainable future.”
Delta reports that the airline has reduced its jet fuel consumption since 2005, begun investing in new fuel-efficient aircraft, and over the summer flew the first of 20 carbon-neutral new aircraft delivery flights using sustainable aviation fuel and carbon offsets in collaboration with Airbus and Air BP.
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