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SAF explained: How Sustainable Aviation Fuel will power a more sustainable future

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the most promising lever known today to accelerate progress toward a net zero future.

Aug. 28, 2023, 10 a.m.

Becoming a more sustainable airline on our journey to net-zero emissions by 2050 is both an imperative for the health of our planet and Delta’s long-term business success.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is the most promising lever known today to accelerate progress toward a net zero future – it can use the existing fuel infrastructure to get it to airports and is safe to use in current aircraft engines. And, importantly, the use of SAF has the ability to reduce emissions by up to 80% with the potential for net negative emissions in certain circumstances.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough SAF today to fuel the world’s commercial airlines for even a single day and it is currently 2 to 4 times more expensive than conventional jet fuel. In addition to investing in SAF for our own fleet, Delta is working to signal demand, attract investment and advocate for policy incentives to scale the market so all airlines can access more sustainable, affordable fuels.

Delta Global Sustainability and Fuel teams have been working over the past several years to catalyze investment and stimulate SAF production by signing what’s known as offtake agreements with various SAF producers. These agreements guarantee that Delta will purchase SAF from the producer when they have it, subject to certain conditions. To date, Delta has signed offtake agreements for more than 200 million gallons of SAF, which puts us half-way toward our goal of using 10% SAF for flying by 2030.1

Through the GREATER MSP Partnership, Bank of America, Delta Air Lines, Ecolab and Xcel Energy have established the first large-scale SAF Hub in the U.S. with unparalleled collaboration among key players committed to scaling SAF production to replace conventional jet fuel.

However, we know we cannot do this alone and we are actively building coalitions across the SAF value chain to demonstrate the capacity for building and scaling SAF.

Learn more about SAF and Delta’s strategy to scale the SAF industry to levels that the aviation industry needs from our Chief Sustainability Officer, Amelia DeLuca, in the video above.

Read more about some of Delta’s SAF offtake agreements:

In March 2023, Delta released its go-forward Sustainability Strategy which outlines how Delta is decarbonizing its business across six core business areas: Ground Operations and Facilities, Clean Fuel the Travel Experience, Supply Chain, Efficient Aircraft Operations, and Revolutionary Fleet. This video is a part of a six-part series which dives into each of these core areas, to bring to life what Sustainability looks like as it happens, every day, at Delta.

1Subject to timely third-party financing and facility development.

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