ABB and Cap Clean Energy collaborate on sustainable aviation fuel

ABB and Cap Clean Energy are to collaborate on developing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production sites in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.


As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, ABB will explore how its automation, electrification and digital technology can optimise the biofuel facilities.

Once operational, Calgary, Canada-based Cap Clean Energy’s facilities will produce ultra-low carbon SAF from non-combustion conversion of non-competing cereal crop by-product feedstocks. The sites will also incorporate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

In a statement, Brandon Spencer, president of ABB Energy Industries, said: “We are proud to collaborate with Cap Clean Energy and realise our joint vision of driving scale on sustainable fuels as part of the energy transition. The potential for SAF has never been greater, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to supporting a low-carbon future with innovative clean technology.”

As part of its Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2023 report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said aviation accounts for two per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions, having grown faster in recent decades than rail, road, or shipping.

According to the International Air Transport Association, if the aviation industry is to reach net zero targets by 2050, a substantial increase in production will be needed to create the blend of 65 per cent aviation fuel required to meet demand. To date, SAF volumes reached over 600 million litres in 2023 – double the amount produced in 2022 – and is expected to to triple in 2024.

Currently, SAF accounts for less than 0.1 per cent of all aviation fuels consumed. To increase its use to 10 per cent by 2030, in line with the Net Zero Emissions Scenario, needs investment in capacity to be ramped up alongside supportive policies.

“We are delighted to collaborate with ABB, which has a long history of delivering integrated automation, electrical and digital technology that drives operational efficiency,” said Steve Polvi, CEO of Cap Clean Energy. “Together, we will work on enabling the production and delivery of SAF and RD into strategic North American markets, supporting society with more sustainable energy and allowing the aviation industry to achieve its net zero goals.”