Technological watch

IAG reaches one-third of 2030 SAF target with major e-SAF deal with Twelve

  • e-SAF purchase agreement with Twelve represents IAG’s largest SAF deal to date
  • IAG expects to start receiving deliveries as early as 2025
  • IAG bought approximately 12% of the global supply of SAF in 2023
International Airlines Group (IAG) today announced its largest Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), purchase an agreement to date, with e-SAF (power-to-liquid) producer Twelve, which will supply advanced e-SAF made from made from CO2, water and renewable energy.

Under the terms of the fourteen-year contract, Twelve will supply IAG with 785,000 tonnes* of e-SAF to support its five European airlines (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL). The next- generation fuel will reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% versus conventional jet fuel. IAG is the first European airline group to announce an e-SAF deal, and the agreement will enable IAG to continue increasing its SAF use, which was approximately 12% of the world’s supply in 2023.**

This deal brings the scale-up of e-SAF, produced using power-to-liquid technology, one step closer to reaching its full potential in the aviation industry. e-SAF does not face feedstock limitations, has a high degree of emissions reduction versus conventional jet fuel and has a relatively low land and water-use footprint.

Twelve, based in Berkeley, California, is a pioneer and a world leader in carbon transformation and power-to-liquid technology. The company has developed and patented a proprietary process that can produce high-quality synthetic fuels from renewable electricity and CO2. The company is constructing a demonstration plant in Moses Lake, Washington, which will supply the first SAF deliveries to IAG starting as early as 2025. The two companies first began partnering in 2020, when Twelve joined IAG’s Hangar 51 start-up accelerator programme to commercialise Twelve’s technology.

The new Twelve partnership is a major step forward for IAG on its journey towards 2030, when it has committed as a Group to fly with 10% SAF—the first European airline group to set this target. IAG has now secured one-third of the SAF needed to reach its 2030 target.

Luis Gallego, IAG’s CEO said: “We have a roadmap to achieve net zero by 2050 including a target to fly with 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel by 2030. The shortage of sustainable fuel globally continues to be a problem for our industry although innovative companies like Twelve are an important part of the solution. “This new deal will contribute towards our 2030 SAF target. We would like to see similar projects scale in Europe, and we look forward to working with governments across our key markets to build a SAF industry to deliver jobs, economic growth and a stable supply of SAF.”

Nicholas Flanders, Twelve’s Co-Founder and CEO said: “We are proud to partner with IAG on this historic deal to advance sustainable aviation with our e-SAF that has up to 90% lower emissions than conventional jet fuel. Our power-to-liquid E-Jet® fuel offers industry-leading emissions reduction potential with the added benefits of an abundant feedstock supply and significantly smaller land and water footprints compared to alternative SAF pathways.”

This deal is the largest e-SAF commitment announced by any European airline Group, which earned IAG an award for ‘SAF Offtake Deal of the Year’, at the inaugural SAF Investor Conference and Awards, in London on 27 February.

As part of its sustainability roadmap, IAG is also investing in new aircraft and implementing fuel efficiency initiatives, purchasing and investing in SAF, and advancing carbon removals to mitigate any residual emissions from its operations. Most recently the Group’s Project Speedbird in the UK – an ethanol-to-jet fuel project between LanzaJet, Nova Pangaea and British Airways – was granted £9 million from the UK Government’s
Advanced Fuels Fund.
*The agreement is for 260 million gallons, which is approximately 785,000 tonnes, or 984 million litres.
** Based on IATA’s latest figures for SAF production in 2023.

About Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is chemically almost identical to kerosene. SAF is certified to international
standards to ensure it is safe to use in existing aircraft and airports. The feedstocks for these fuels –
currently waste materials such as used cooking oil, municipal waste or waste wood – absorb or avoid
greenhouse gases before this carbon is recycled into fuel and then used.

About power-to-liquid (e-SAF)Power-to-liquid is a process that converts renewable electricity, water and CO2 into synthetic liquid fuels that can be used in aviation. The CO2 can be captured from various sources, such as industrial emissions, biogenic waste, or direct air capture. The renewable electricity can be generated from solar, wind, hydro, or other sources.

About TwelveTwelve is the carbon transformation company on a mission to eliminate global emissions and build a fossil-free future through the science of carbon transformation and electrochemistry. Carbon transformation means using CO2 to displace fossil fuels as a feedstock. This is done with Opus, Twelve’s revolutionary technology that works like industrial photosynthesis. It transforms CO2, water, and renewable energy into hydrocarbons, the building blocks for essential chemicals, materials, and fuels. With this process, they can make the same chemicals, materials, and fuels from CO2 that are conventionally made from fossil fuels.

About International Airlines Group (IAG)International Airlines Group (IAG) is one of the world’s largest airline groups with 582 aircraft, directly connecting Europe to 250+ destinations in 91 countries and carrying 115+ million passengers per year. Its leading airlines in Spain, the UK and Ireland include Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and LEVEL. The Group also consists of two additional businesses; IAG Cargo and IAG Loyalty. PwC found that IAG supports more than 600,000 jobs in the region directly and indirectly and through the spending of travellers, contributing nearly €70 billion of GDP to the EU and UK.

IAG’s investment in SAFIn 2021, the Group set a target of using one million tonnes of SAF a year by 2030, dependent on appropriate government policy support. This volume will save as much greenhouse gases as taking one million cars off the road per year. IAG ensures its SAF complies with strict sustainability certification schemes such as Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) and International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC).

Publication date: 11/03/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.