Gene Gebolys, President and CEO of World Energy, is considered a global leader when it comes to next generation fuels. His early passion for science and policy catalyzed a remarkable career dedicated to advancing fossil fuel alternatives. For over 25 years, his work at World Energy has driven leading breakthroughs in renewable fuels and helped expand use across the North American continent.
Gene founded World Energy in 1998, with the goal of innovating and commercializing a wide range of renewable fuels – from advanced biofuels to SAF to clean hydrogen. In fact, World Energy was the world’s first commercial-scale SAF producer. Today, they collaborate with top companies and leaders to help implement net-zero solutions, particularly in hard-to-abate industries. Current initiatives include SAF projects in Southern California and Houston, as well as a green hydrogen project in Newfoundland.
Gene emphasizes the critical role of early movers in the energy industry. He highlights their influence in market creation, driving innovation, and serving the community. For these reasons, the private entrepreneurial sector can prove much more effective than government-led initiatives. Could energy be the next Silicon Valley?
Gene is optimistic about the future of SAF, but stresses the importance of a market-driven approach to boost production and adoption. He recognizes a growing consumer willingness to pay a premium for high-quality, sustainable alternatives, which can significantly influence demand in this sector. Given the current market interest and potential for expansion, SAF remains a promising solution for decarbonizing the aviation industry.
Vietjet Air, a Vietnamese low-cost carrier, has partnered with Dubai-based start-up SAF One to develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for the airline. The two signed a MoU during the recent COP28 in Dubai, stating their plans to develop and deploy SAF throughout Vietnam. This aligns with a growing focus on SAF in the Asia-Pacific region overall. The aviation industry is aiming for 10% SAF usage by 2030, which requires SAF production to reach roughly 10 billion gallons per year. That’s more than 60 times what is estimated to have been produced this year. If successful, companies like SAF One could contribute significantly to the industry’s target for increased SAF use.
Montana Renewables has initiated its first shipments of sustainable aviation fuel (#SAF) to Shell Aviation, following a multi-year agreement. The deal enables Shell to distribute SAF to its US customers, including JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Air Lines. Initially aiming to produce around 30 million gallons of SAF per year, Montana Renewables has plans to significantly ramp up this output over the next few years, making it the largest SAF producer in North America. Delta Air Lines has already committed to purchasing 10 million gallons of SAF from Shell Aviation over two years, with an aim to replace 10% of its jet fuel consumption by the end of 2030, requiring at least 400 million gallons of SAF annually. However, it’s not just about SAF. Montana Renewables is also producing renewable hydrogen, begging the question: Could SAF be the bridge to a hydrogen-powered aviation future? While SAF is currently the largest known lever for decarbonizing aviation, its production is nowhere near meeting the world’s commercial airlines’ fuel needs for even a single day. Yet, significant strides are being made in scaling its production, and it’s plausible that SAF could serve as a stepping stone towards a hydrogen-powered aviation industry. But how long before hydrogen is ready for prime time in aviation? Given the complexities of transitioning to hydrogen, including infrastructural and technological challenges, it could take several decades before hydrogen is fully integrated into commercial aviation. Until then, SAF, with its compatibility with existing aircraft and infrastructure, is poised to be a key player in reducing aviation’s carbon footprint.