Satorp produces sustainable aviation fuel

31 October 2023
The Jubail plant has converted used cooking oil into an ISCC-certified saf

Saudi Aramco Total Refinery & Petrochemical Company (Satorp) has announced the successful conversion of used cooking oil into an internationally-certified sustainable aviation fuel (saf).

Satorp is International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC)-compliant, and the saf produced at its Jubail plant is similarly ISSC-certified.

"With this certification, the platform will be able to respond to the expected rise in saf demand in ... Saudi Arabia," TotalEnergies, which owns a 37.5 per cent stake in Satorp, said in a statement.

Saudi Aramco maintains the remaining 62.5 per cent stake in Satorp.

MEED understands it is the first time that used cooking oil has been processed using the low-pressure hydrodesulphurisation unit at Satorp's Jubai facility into an ISCC-certified saf.

Saf produced from used cooking oil reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 80 per cent on average over the product's entire life cycle, compared with their fossil equivalent, TotalEnergies said.

It is not the first circular product produced at the site. Satorp previously converted oil derived from plastic waste into ISCC+ certified circular polymers.

Saf demand

Dubai-based Emirates Airline ran a demonstration flight on saf in January.

Several partnerships between energy companies have also been formed to explore the development and production of saf in the region.

In January, an Abu Dhabi-based consortium announced plans to seek certification for a new saf technology called methanol to jet.

In addition to TotalEnergies, the consortium includes Abu Dhabi-based clean energy firm Masdar, Germany’s Siemens Energy and Japan’s Marubeni.

The team plans to include methanol in the range of alcohols covered by an existing technology, called alcohol-to-jet synthetic paraffinic kerosene, which was certified in 2016 as meeting international standards for jet fuel.

Earlier this month, Masdar signed an agreement with Europe’s Airbus to accelerate the development of saf, among other technologies.

The agreement also covers green hydrogen, direct air capture technologies and facilitating 'book-and-claim' solutions. Direct air capture technologies allow atmospheric CO2 to be harnessed, potentially amalgamating with hydrogen to synthesise saf, the team said.

Emirates has also recently announced an agreement with Shell Aviation to supply over 300,000 gallons of blended saf for use at the airline’s international hub in Dubai.

UK-based aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is also testing the commercial and business aircraft limit of 50 per cent saf, its president for the Middle East, Turkiye and Africa region, John Kelly, recently told MEED.

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