Shell last week announced a deal with oil refining and biofuels manufacturer Neste, which the two companies claim will significantly increase the supply and availability of sustainable jet fuel for the aviation industry.
The agreement, which comes into effect from next month, brings together Neste's expertise in the production and supply of so-called "renewable diesel" made from a range of raw materials — such as animal fats, vegetable oils, rapeseed oil and palm oil — with Shell's aviation arm, which supplies jet fuel around the world.
Anna Mascolo, president of Shell Aviation, said the deal reflects the oil giant's aim to "reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels we sell which includes selling more lower-carbon fuels like sustainable aviation fuel."
"Today's agreement with Neste will help Shell Aviation customers to lower their emissions and demonstrates the kind of progress we can deliver by working in collaboration with others," Mascolo added.
The agreement with Shell follows hot on the heels of Neste's deal with rival oil giant BP last month to ramp up the supply of aviation biofuel to several European airports through 2020 and 2021. Neste claims its sustainable aviation fuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flight by up to 80 percent compared to conventional jet fuel, and the company has pledged to achieve "carbon neutral" production of its products by 2035.
Neste's vice president for renewable fuels, Thorsten Lange, claimed sustainable aviation biofuels offered "the only viable alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft with an immediate potential to reduce aviation's greenhouse gas emissions."
"We are fully committed to supporting the aviation industry, its customers and corporates with their emission reduction targets," Lange added.
The deal signals growing efforts to blend renewable biofuels with conventional jet fuels in order to curb emissions from flights, with Virgin Atlantic previously completing the first transatlantic flight powered by biofuels, although some concerns continue to surround the provenance of materials and feedstocks used to produce biofuels, such as palm oil.
Meanwhile, private jet firm VistaJet has said it is partnering with biofuel producer SkyNRG, in a move it claims could offer its clients the potential to reduce flight emissions by up to 85 percent.
The deal forms part of VistaJet's sustainability strategy, through which it is aiming to offset almost 100,000 tons of CO2 and reduce fuel consumption by almost 8 percent per flight.