Air bp offers RSB certified book and claim solution for sustainable aviation fuel

September 19, 2021 |

It’s another exciting day for sustainable aviation fuel with Air bp offering a book and claim solution, certified by RSB, to allow customers to access SAF carbon reductions without being physically connected to the supply site and provides customers with wider market access to SAF across a number of locations.

In today’s Digest, how does book and claim really work? How does this allow access to SAF across a number of locations? Why is that important? How can this help further the expansion of SAF around the world?

The last 2 weeks have been huge for sustainable aviation fuel – from Chevron, Delta, Google, United, Honeywell, Gevo, Alder Fuels to the U.S. Department of Energy’s more than $64 million in funding for 22 biofuel projects.

And let’s not forget the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge created by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal government agencies.

And this Air bp news about their book and claim solution doesn’t disappoint. First, let’s dive into what book and claim is.

How does Book and Claim work?

Book & Claim is a solution that enables customers (airlines) to purchase SAF without being geographically connected to a SAF production site. Essentially it enables airlines to purchase “SAF Credits” on top of their conventional fuel, paying the premium for SAF to the SAF producer, who then sells their SAF as conventional fuel. This solves the issue of the often vast distances between SAF supply (a production facility) and demand (an airline fulfilling its mandated and voluntary sustainability commitments), according to RSB.

While the customer is not technically flying on SAF, their purchase demonstrates market demand and supports the development of SAF supply globally. In turn the customer can claim their SAF purchase towards their greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction goals.

So that this process is managed in a way that reduces the risk of fraud, a Book & Claim registry is used to trace transactions and ensure they are credible, traceable and do not lead to double counting of the GHG benefit by multiple parties. The SAF producer ‘books’ their SAF into the registry, where it is then ‘claimed’ by a customer. A robust traceability system that guarantees full transparency and zero risk of fraud is essential to ensure the system can be widely supported by the market — which is why the registry must be managed independently by a trusted partner.

Why does this matter?

Now let’s dive into Air bp’s reasoning on why book and claim is so important to move SAF forward around the globe.

One of the big challenges with SAF is that current volumes and existing supply points are limited. Subsequently, delivering SAF far from those supply points can be an expensive process. In addition, long supply chains can create increased carbon emissions, which would reduce the overall carbon savings from the use of the SAF.

So, with SAF only available at a small number of locations across Europe and North America, Air bp is offering a book and claim solution to allow customers to access SAF carbon reductions without being physically connected to the supply site. In short, the programme enables bp to deliver the SAF into the supply chain at one airport location and ‘book’ the carbon reduction associated with it into a registry. Then the customer at another location can ‘claim’ those carbon reductions by purchasing their traditional jet fuel along with the benefit of the lifecycle carbon reductions that have been registered in that registry.

Book and claim SAF sales should be credible, traceable and must not lead to double counting. This is why Air bp has partnered with the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). RSB — a global multi-stakeholder organisation that supports the SAF and wider bioeconomy sector with sustainability solutions, partnerships and certification; RSB will certify Air bp’s book and claim SAF sales based on RSB’s robust procedures and manage the book and claim registry.

While it might seem strange that an airline can claim GHG and other sustainability benefits for a fuel that they aren’t physically using, this approach is actually a powerful way of quickly growing the supply of sustainable fuels for the aviation industry in the urgent race to decarbonise and tackle the climate crisis, according to RSB. Book & Claim helps SAF producers, anchored in single geographies, to sell their premium fuels to customers around the world — a strong financial incentive to grow their supply of SAF. It also circumvents the need for SAF to be transported long distances to the customer – by road or ship – which can negate the GHG benefit entirely!

Building critical mass

Air bp’s book and claim solution is particularly relevant to the general and business aviation market where volumes are smaller and typically purchased over a wide number of locations.  So, if SAF isn’t available at the location a customer is flying from, they still have the opportunity to purchase the carbon reductions for SAF that is placed into the supply chain where it is most cost effective and where carbon emissions from the transport of the product can be reduced. The book and claim customer is issued a certificate by the registry showing the volume of SAF delivered and the corresponding lifecycle carbon emission savings (as detailed in the associated proof of sustainability certificate). Customers can choose how to use the lifecycle carbon savings detailed on the certificate including in marketing communication or reporting. However, as this is a voluntary scheme certificates are not eligible under regulatory schemes.

And, as well as giving a wider range of customers access to the benefits of SAF, book and claim also helps Air bp to develop a greater understanding of SAF demand.

Currently, Air bp’s book and claim solution can be used with jet fuel purchases in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US (subject to availability), and they are exploring additional locations. Customers can opt for specific quantity and they will then be invoiced separately for the incremental cost. Alternatively, they can opt for a percentage of their normal jet purchases from a particular airport and then pay an additional fee on their purchases of traditional jet fuel to cover the incremental cost of book and claim SAF.

The minimum volume of book and claim SAF that can be purchased is 5,000USG/19,000 L/ 19m3/ 15MT.

Purchasing book and claim SAF reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by introducing more SAF into the supply chain and providing a wider range of customers with the benefits of SAF. It is one of several solutions Air bp is offering, that are consistent with bp’s ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get to net zero. In the meantime, their plans to develop physical SAF supply chains based on demand, remains unchanged.

What about the fuel?

We asked Andreea Moyes, global sustainability director, Air bp in an exclusive Digest interview about the fuel and she shared that Air bp’s SAF is made from “waste based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oils, and in future household waste. The physical SAF we supply today is certified by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). ISCC certification system offers solutions for the implementation and certification of sustainable- and traceable supply chains of agricultural, forestry, waste and residue raw materials, non-bio renewables and recycled carbon materials and fuels.

Air bp has a portfolio approach to our sourcing of SAF. This includes:

  • Agreeing off-take agreements with third-party producers
  • Investing in third-party production facilities
  • Investing in our own refineries and facilities”

Moyes told The Digest, “Air bp is working with customers to create more demand for SAF in the short-term and we are delighted to have worked with RSB on this book and claim solution. We believe that having a certified book and claim solution will give further credibility and traceability to book and claim purchases and ultimately lead to increased demand for SAF.”

Elena Schmidt, Executive Director (interim), RSB told The Digest, “We are very pleased to be supporting Air bp as they work to make SAF accessible to many more buyers via this innovative book and claim approach. RSB is able to bring its uniquely robust and credible chain of custody approach to ensure that this programme will increase production volumes and build trust and transparency in this new market. Ensuring that SAF uptake is accelerated immediately is vital for the decarbonisation of the aviation sector — RSB is proud to offer its expertise to give Air bp’s customers confidence in this new approach.”

Bottom Line

It’s all about the future of SAF and taking this opportunity to expand its availability across the globe. As Moyes told The Digest, “We believe SAF will play an important role towards meeting the industry’s low carbon goals. And we’re delighted to be able to make its benefits more accessible to a wider audience through book and claim. In addition, we believe that book and claim will help us to develop a greater understanding of SAF demand. To date, Air bp has supplied SAF to customers at over 20 locations across three continents and our plans to develop physical SAF supply chains based on demand, remains unchanged.”

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