Montana Renewables Begins SAF Shipments to Shell Aviation

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 Ameri​ca.

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.

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