A Climate Quantum Leap with Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Guest Author by Guest Author | Sep 28, 2021

Guest Author: Thorsten Lange, Executive Vice President, Renewable Aviation, Neste

In recent years, the aviation industry has taken important steps to address its environmental impact. The aviation industry has committed to carbon-neutral growth from 2020, and a 50% reduction in net emissions by 2050. A key element in achieving these targets is the wider introduction of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which Neste, as the world’s leading SAF producer, makes entirely from waste and residue raw materials.

The SAF industry has been quietly growing since the late 2000s. Over the lifecycle, SAF reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil jet fuel. More than 40 airlines and 13 major airports already use and supply SAF 1.6 billion gallons of SAF committed to forward purchasing agreements. More recently, critical changes in national regulations have given the industry a significant boost.

It is important that we continue to see more and more aviation stakeholders leading the way towards a more sustainable future. In this regard, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is a true forerunner in decarbonizing the aviation industry.

A pioneering partnership between Neste and SFO

In 2016, ACI awarded SFO “Level 3” certification under the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) program, which recognizes its progress and collaborative commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption from operations across SFO.

And this month, it has been a year since SFO received its first supply of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel. I am proud to report that today, more than 1 million gallons of SAF have entered the airport.

The pioneering partnership began with SFO’s ambitious goal to become the first triple-zero airport, reaching not only net-zero carbon emissions but also zero-net energy and zero waste to landfill. By partnering up with Neste, SFO has made a “climate quantum leap,” towards its goal and has become one of the first major airports in the US to enable a continuous supply of SAF to all commercial, cargo, and private aircraft operators, including major airlines like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and JetBlue Airways.

To celebrate the first anniversary of this “climate quantum leap,” we published a case study on our collaboration, which also included other aviation stakeholders such as fuel suppliers, airlines, and airport agencies. The case study highlights how the “first of its kind” agreement was established in a collaborative effort to accelerate the transition to SAF as well as the seamless introduction of SAF into SFO’s existing jet fuel supply chain and SAF’s unique role as a drop-in solution that works safely with existing engines and infrastructure.

We look forward to working with more airlines and airports around the world to increase the use of SAF to make an even bigger impact for a healthier planet, including to the immediate communities surrounding airports.

Neste at the ACI-LAC/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition

Neste will be presenting at the upcoming ACI-LAC/World Annual General Assembly, Conference and Exhibition, in Cancun, Mexico, from 21–24 November. The presentation will explore the advantages and advancements of SAF in the industry, providing in-depth and tangible examples.


Thorsten Lange has been the Executive Vice President of Neste Corporation’s Renewable Aviation business unit and member of the Executive Committee since January 2020.  Before joining the company, he worked at Lufthansa for two decades in various roles, most recently as the head of Fuel Procurement (Global). He has also had various positions in the oil sector. Thorsten Lange is a member of the IATA Fuel Steering Group. Previously he has also been the Chairman of the IATA Commercial Fuel group, a member of the IATA Fuel Working Group as well as a member of the Star Alliance Fuel Advisory Group.


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