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ABB, Cap Clean Energy collaborate to help SAF production take off in Canada

Photo: ABB

ABB announced March 21 that it has signed an agreement with Cap Clean Energy to collaborate on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production sites in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

 


As part of the memorandum of understanding (MOU), ABB will explore how its automation, electrification and digital technology—including the ABB Ability™ System 800xA® distributed control system and eHouse modular substation solutions—can optimize the biofuel facilities.

 


Once operational, Cap Clean Energy’s facilities will produce ultra-low carbon SAF from noncombustion conversion of feedstocks made from cereal-crop byproduct that do not compete with food.

 


The sites will also incorporate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce CO2 emissions.

 


For the aviation industry to reach net-zero targets by 2050, a substantial increase in production will be needed to create the blend of 65 percent aviation fuel required to meet demand, according to the International Air Transport Association.

 


Progress is being made, with SAF volumes reaching over 600 million liters (158.5 million gallons) in 2023—double the amount produced in 2022—and an expectation to triple in 2024.

 


“We are proud to collaborate with Cap Clean Energy and realize our joint vision of driving scale on sustainable fuels as part of the energy transition,” said Brandon Spencer, president of ABB Energy Industries. “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 says aviation accounts for 2 percent of global energy-related CO2 emissions, having grown faster in recent decades than rail, road or shipping.

 


Currently, SAF accounts for less than 0.1 percent of all aviation fuels consumed, so to increase its use to 10 percent by 2030, in line with a net-zero emissions scenario, investment in capacity needs 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 renewable diesel into strategic North American markets, supporting society with more sustainable energy and allowing the aviation industry to achieve its net-zero goals.”

 


Cap Clean Energy’s biofuel facilities will be designed as modular systems capable of rapid production scale up.

 


The concept can then be applied as part of a wider, long-term rollout across a network of integrated and connected biorefineries.

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