Dallas Fort Worth International Airport marks industry’s first demonstration of circular economy

posted on 11th November 2021 by Eddie Saunders
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport marks industry’s first demonstration of circular economy

Upon receiving its first delivery of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), in collaboration with Avfuel Corporation and Neste, became the first airport in the United States to test a collaborative circular economy project in the aviation sector.

The successful SAF delivery is part of this pilot project at DFW—the second busiest airport in the world—demonstrating the commercial and technical viability of SAF, while showcasing the potential to close the circularity loop at the airport by providing raw material for the production of renewable fuels.

“The introduction of sustainable aviation fuel to DFW Airport marks a major milestone in our effort to reduce our sector’s overall carbon footprint,” said Robert Horton, vice president of environmental affairs at DFW Airport.

“We recognize our future success depends on our ability to protect our natural resources, and we are committed to continuing to serve as an industry leader in sustainable practices.”

The circularity project is a great example of cooperation to upcycle and reuse valuable waste materials across the value chain.

It begins at the airport, where Neste, via its subsidiary Mahoney Environmental, collects used cooking oil from more than 200 concessionaires who prepare and serve food to airport customers.

Neste converts this waste material into renewable fuels, which replace fossil fuel use in the global transport system.

To complete the circle, Avfuel safely supplied a demonstrative load of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to DFW Corporate Aviation, the airport’s full-service fixed-base operator (FBO), for its business aviation customers.

The 8,000-gallon demonstrative load of SAF reduces carbon emissions by 19 metric tons—a reduction that could grow significantly if more SAF enters the airport’s fuel pool.

Neste’s SAF, in neat form and over the life cycle, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%* compared to fossil jet fuel.

Overall, DFW expects the pilot circular economy program could deliver the same climate benefit as reducing the emissions from 70 passenger vehicles to zero over the course of a year.

DFW, Avfuel and Neste will continue to explore opportunities to bring more SAF to the airport. This could potentially include making the fuel available to commercial and cargo airlines.

DFW’s goal is to become a net-zero operation by 2030, and it views SAF as an essential component of enabling its partners to achieve their emissions reduction goals.

“Together we’re charting a bold new flight path that shows airports how they can achieve their climate goals faster and ultimately enable flight operators, businesses and passengers to fly with a smaller carbon footprint,” said Chris Cooper, Neste’s vice president of renewable aviation in North America.

“We’re able to do this because all parts of the SAF value chain came together—the airport, the fuel supplier and the producer.

“And, most importantly, all the partners involved are committed to creating a sustainable future for air travel and fighting climate change.”

Keith Sawyer, Avfuel’s manager of alternative fuels, said: “Avfuel is proud to have supported DFW and Neste in realizing this momentous occasion.

“DFW and Neste have laid an excellent foundation for sustainability and provide a shining example of how organizations can work together to increase sustainability and promote renewability.

“The Avfuel team is honored to have played a role in demonstrating that SAF is available for use now and circular solutions are feasible through industry collaboration.”