Shell, Accenture and American Express, launch blockchain powered digital book-and-claim solutions for SAF
Shell, Accenture, and American Express Global Business Travel have jointly announced the launch of Avelia, a blockchain-powered digital sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) book-and-claim solutions for business travel. The initiative was unveiled on the sidelines of the 78th IATA AGM that closes in Doha today.
According to the JV partners, Avelia is the largest SAF book-and-claim pilot at launch, offering around 1 million gallons of SAF – enough to power almost 15,000 individual business traveller flights from London-to-New York. It is designed to complement and work alongside airlines’ current corporate SAF programmes by sharing the costs and benefits of SAF across the sector.
Airlines will gain access to the buying capacity of businesses willing to share SAF’s ongoing price premium – drawing from Amex GBT’s 19,000 customers from 140 countries, including thousands of small to medium sized businesses and 40 of the top 100 companies by travel spend – and corporates looking to reduce emissions from their business travel will have access to SAF.
The pilot phase of the programme seeks to demonstrate the credibility of the book-and-claim model, using blockchain technology to ensure secured allocation of SAF’s environmental attributes to companies and airlines after the fuel has been delivered into the fuel network. With Avelia, airlines and business customers could simultaneously reduce emissions in their respective scopes, while ensuring transparency and accountability by avoiding issues such as double-counting.
Developed by Shell and Accenture, with the support of the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), Avelia includes Amex GBT’s world-leading travel management services to aggregate global business demand for SAF, which will increase SAF supply and use and help accelerate the aviation industry’s pathway towards net-zero emissions.
“SAF is a key enabler of decarbonisation in the aviation industry, and it’s available today. However, it’s currently scarce and costs more than conventional jet fuel. Avelia will help trigger demand for SAF at scale, providing confidence to suppliers like us to further increase investment in production, and in turn helping to lower the price point for these fuels,” said Jan Toschka, president, Shell Aviation.
Amex GBT chief executive officer Paul Abbot described the initiative as a truly “viable route to decarbonising air travel is now open for business,” while Rachel Barton, Europe Strategy Lead at Accenture said, “we believe every business should be a sustainable business and that sustainability will serve as one of the most powerful forces for change. Our vision for the Avelia platform is to bring together airlines, corporates, cargo players, and SAF suppliers in a trusted ecosystem that no individual company could build or access on its own. Blockchain technology will be piloted to help ensure trust via data integrity, validate proof of ownership, and enable transparent tracking of the environmental benefits of SAF for customers.”
According to Elena Schmidt, the executive director, Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, Book-and-Claim has the potential to significantly increase the market access to SAF and, in turn, support aviation decarbonisation efforts – as it allows airlines and their customers to invest in SAF and purchase its environmental claims without needing to be tied to a production site.
Although sustainable aviation fuel can be made from plant or animal material, research and development is also underway to find ways to produce industrial quantities of SAF synthetically, using hydrogen obtained from low-emission sources and carbon dioxide captured from other industrial processes or the air.