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JetBlue, Shell ink sustainable fuel deal trackable using blockchain

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Today JetBlue and Shell Aviation announced a deal in which Shell will provide ten million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the next two years at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), with the option of a third year. Business travelers can track their SAF use via a blockchain solution.

SAF is sourced from renewable energy sources such as manure, cooking oil and other waste. The final fuel is sufficiently similar to conventional aviation fuel that doesn’t require adapting planes. Yet it can be up to 80% less polluting than regular fuel when it comes to C02 emissions.

Last year Shell, Accenture and Amex Global Business Travel unveiled Avelia, a blockchain solution that enables corporate airline travelers to claim the carbon saving benefits through ‘book and claim’, which is being deployed as part of the JetBlue deal. Even if SAF is unavailable on your particular flight, it’s still possible to claim the benefits. 

This separation of the carbon saving and the user’s claim is similar to renewable electricity, where renewable providers put their electricity into a shared grid. A user might pay for renewable, but it’s likely the actual electricity used may be conventionally generated.

The rationale is to generate greater consumer demand and payment, encouraging more SAF sources to come online. SAF is generally in short supply in part because it’s more expensive than aviation fuel.

JetBlue noted that this deal raises the airline’s SAF usage to roughly 15% of its LAX fuel supply. However, most of JetBlue’s supplies are in California mainly because of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel program, which allows producers to claim credits and caps prices. JetBlue urged additional federal and state programs elsewhere to incentivize SAF producers and airline buyers.

“LAX is a critical North American airport hub and we’re delighted to be able to provide JetBlue and corporations on its Sustainable Travel Partners program access to SAF, allowing them to lower their emissions while jointly contributing to investments in SAF,” said Jan Toschka, President of Shell Aviation.

Avelia uses Energy Web’s blockchain technology. The blockchain protocol is also used in another SAF initiative, SAFc, which acts as a blockchain registry for SAF. The solution is backed by McKinsey, JP Morgan, Microsoft, Meta and several other big names.

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