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Copenhagen’s Aviation Sector Takes a Green Leap with Historic SAF Arrival

DCC & Shell Aviation Denmark have secured a significant sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supply in response to growing airline demand. A historic delivery was made on September 10th to Oiltanking Copenhagen’s terminal, setting the foundation for regular supplies to Denmark’s aviation sector. 

DCC & Shell Aviation sustainable aviation fuel supply in Copenhagen, Denmark
Sune Petersen, Head of Sustainability & Strategy, DCC & Shell Aviation Denmark and Karl Henrik Dahl, Managing Director, Oiltanking Copenhagen A/S. © Oiltanking Copenhagen A/S. Photo: Christoffer Regild

This step by DCC & Shell Aviation signals growth in the move towards non-fossil aviation fuel, aligning with the global shift towards sustainable aviation alternatives. 

Danish Aviation: SAF Early Adoption

The Danish aviation industry is already moving to meet new EU requirements for 2025, including increasing the use of SAF. This early adoption has increased interest and demand for SAF, supporting the move towards a large-scale, land-based SAF supply in Denmark.

“For a couple of years, we have been considering establishing an actual Danish supply base for SAF on a large scale. From 2021, when we initiated the first cooperation with Sønderborg Airport for SAF supplies for the domestic route to Copenhagen, things have progressed rapidly. Since then, Billund Airport has joined and, most recently, Copenhagen Airport via the SAF agreement we have entered into with Air Greenland,” Sune Petersen, Head of Sustainability & Strategy at DCC & Shell Aviation Denmark, explains.

Working with Oiltanking Copenhagen, who owns the Prøvestenen terminal, the SAF supply has progressed significantly. This critical step will enhance the infrastructure and increase the supply of the high-demand SAF in the Danish aviation sector.

“From Oiltanking Copenhagen’s tanks at Prøvestenen, we cannot only send SAF directly into the pipelines to Copenhagen Airport. We can also efficiently reach the other airports through our existing supply network. This will facilitate the availability of SAF for all parties. That is a step in the aviation sector’s transition to more sustainable forms of energy,” says Sune Petersen.

Prøvestenen is crucial for the region’s energy supply network. 

Prøvestenen terminal, managed by Oiltanking Copenhagen, is linked to the nation’s biggest airport through a pipeline network. According to Karl Henrik Dahl, Managing Director of Oiltanking Copenhagen, the terminal and port at Prøvestenen, managed by Copenhagen Malmö Port, are essential for maintaining Copenhagen’s air traffic. Also, with its large capacity and strong link to the energy framework, Prøvestenen is vital for transitioning away from fossil fuels.

“Establishing SAF storage directly connected to Copenhagen Airport is a good example. Denmark already has a well-functioning infrastructure that supports the aviation industry’s need for new fuel types. In a few years, Denmark will need to be able to handle large quantities of different kinds of liquid fuels. For example, PtX-based fuel. In this respect, our infrastructure at Prøvestenen provides a solid and scalable basis for us. It allows us to guarantee stable energy supplies across the country throughout the energy transition. By leveraging our capabilities here at Oiltanking Copenhagen, we are taking on the challenges of the energy transition together with our customers. And we will continue to innovate to provide even more sustainable energy solutions throughout this transition,” he explains.

A Hopeful Path to Green Aviation

Sune Petersen believes the growing investments in Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) in Denmark highlight a hopeful path. This trend demonstrates the impact of adopting more sustainable aviation fuels. Industry participants support this initiative, and it is a political priority.

“To efficiently and affordably support more sustainable aviation, we need to be able to handle SAF deliveries on a very large scale. This can best be done by utilizing the existing infrastructure. So, we must move away from pouring ‘green’ fuel into every aircraft on a given route. It’s about mass balance, where the airlines’ purchase of SAF is part of the overall fuel supply and gradually displaces fossil jet fuel. This applies regardless of whether it is SAF made from biowaste or PtX-based SAF, which can be produced in much larger quantities and even more sustainably with renewable power from wind turbines or solar energy and biogenic CO2,” Sune Petersen explains.

The aviation industry uses Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), made from bio-waste like used cooking oil and food waste. SAF can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to fossil fuels, promoting greener air travel.

About the SAF Suppliers

DCC & Shell Aviation Denmark is a collaboration between DCC Holding Denmark and Shell’s aviation fuel business. Tasked with logistics and aviation fuel supply to nine Danish airports, it is Denmark’s largest independent fuel supplier. 

Oiltanking Copenhagen A/S, a Mabanaft Group unit, has a storage capacity of 462 thousand cubic meters at their Prøvestenen location. They lease storage space and offer related services, specializing in jet fuel supply primarily to Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup).  

Mabanaft GmbH & Co. KG is a significant independent energy company offering innovative transportation, heating, industry, and agriculture solutions. Besides petroleum products, natural gas liquids, chemicals, and biofuels, they encourage the transition to cleaner fuels with sustainable alternatives.

FAQs on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

What is the difference between SAF and traditional jet fuel?

Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) is made from crude oil. This petroleum fuel significantly contributes to the aviation industrys greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) provides an environmentally friendly option.
Key differences include:  
Emissions: SAF potentially reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases by 80% compared to ATF.
Source materials: SAF is made from renewable or waste materials.
Performance: Both fuels power jet engines without modifications, but current aircraft use SAF blends with Kerosene. The goal is to have 100% SAF-fueled planes.

What are the challenges of SAF supply for airlines?

The production of SAF currently comes at a higher cost than conventional jet fuel production. While airlines want to use more SAF blends in their operations, the existing supply of SAF is not enough.

What is the current level of SAF production? 

In 2022, SAF production tripled to 300 million liters with over 130 renewable fuel projects across 30 countries. Advances over the coming years will confirm renewable fuel capacity through 2030. 
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts renewable fuel production will hit approximately 69 billion liters by 2028, including Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). This is based on new refineries opening and expanding existing facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. If production reaches 69 billion liters by 2028, the trajectory towards 100 billion liters by 2030 is achievable.

What role can Governments Play in Expediting SAF Production?

SAF production depends on a supportive policy framework from governments for renewable energy. IATA advocates for state intervention to promote SAF production. Governments can stimulate production by providing financial support and diversifying approval of SAF production methods. Aligning SAF policies (pdf) will encourage new participants to compete. Securing capital for new technology and production facilities is also critical.

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