Looking at Shell’s pivot to SAF’s, should we be sceptical?

The fossil fuel company Shell looks set to invest in Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs).

The fuel and oil corporation says they will be partnering with information technology firm Accenture and American Express’s Global Business Travel to launch a new platform Avelia which they say will connect airlines and businesses globally, to share the environmental benefits of SAFs and generate more investment in the sector.

“It needs support. It needs support from the entire ecosystem,” said Jan Toschka, president of Shell Aviation.

“That means travelers, airlines, corporations and fuel suppliers all need to be working together toward a sustainable future of aviation.”

Taking a look at how the initiative will work, Avelia will be using the divisive ‘book and claim’ method where travellers can pay for the sustainable fuel and claim its benefits, even if the fuel does not end up being used on their specific flight. Then, the equivalent amount of fuel will be fed into another aircraft, accomplishing the same overall goal.

Shell headquaters
Shell flag and building

Shell, Emissions, and Blockchains

Shell will perhaps be sweating on this initiative to win the company some good PR amongst the environmentalist crowd, as in the midst of the climate crisis they stand as one of the four big carbon emitters alongside fellow fossil fuel companies Chevron, Exxon, and BP.

The corporation was recently ordered last year by a Dutch court to cut its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, under both Dutch law and the European convention on human rights (a decision the company is looking to appeal).

As the aviation industry looks to transition to sustainable air travel, there has been a growing discourse about the apparent blind spots in initiatives that only continue emitting Co2 into the atmosphere.

Shell’s Avelia platform will be powered by the blockchain which is controversially associated with increasing carbon emissions in the divisive cryptocurrency industry.

What do you reckon, do you trust Shell to be a leader in SAF’s? Would you like us to explore the ‘book and claim’ method further? Let us know in the comments…

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  1. “Shell’s Avelia platform will be powered by the blockchain which is controversially associated with increasing carbon emissions in the divisive cryptocurrency #8221; –> I would suggest to read into the technology for this solution, as the company they work with (Energy Web) is specifically aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in blockchain + other industries.

    Energy Web Chain’s energy use (the whole chain, not just this usecase) is less than that of an office building per year.

    Other than that, I would consider SAF a bridging technology. It is definitely not the solution and should not be seen as a reason to slack further CO2 reduction efforts or to take more flights. It does however offer a chance to emit less CO2 in the short to mid term.

    Definitely interested to hear more details on that.


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