Montana Renewables begins delivering sustainable aviation fuel

Montana Renewables has begun delivering sustainable aviation fuel to Shell under a multi-year agreement.

The Great Falls company, at the Calumet refinery, is currently the largest sustainable aviation fuel produced in North America, according to the company.

Shell and its affiliates are expanding and building supply chain capabilities to blend and distribute SAF throughout the U.S., increasing access to the fuel and helping to decarbonize the aviation sector, according to the company.

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Shell is working with Montana Renewables to help increase access to sustainable aviation fuel production in the U.S. for their customers, including Delta, Alaska and Jet Blue airlines, according to Shell.

In April, Delta Airlines announced an agreement to purchase 10 million gallons of neat sustainable aviation fuel from Shell, according to a release.

“We’re proud to collaborate with Shell to improve aviation sustainability,” Bruce Fleming, Montana Renewables CEO, said in a release. “Strong support from the State of Montana, Cascade County, and the City of Great Falls made possible the unique speed of Montana Renewables, and Shell is the logical offtake partner for us to reach multiple airlines and airports from our geographically advantaged site. We are now producing more SAF than any other North American company on top of our renewable diesel and renewable hydrogen.”

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Sustainable aviation fuel is a certified aviation fuel produced from renewable feedstocks including agricultural waste and used cooking oils that “has the potential to reduce lifecycle emissions” by up to 80 percent compared to conventional aviation fuel, according to Montana Renewables. It can also be blended in a ratio of up to 50 percent with conventional jet fuel.

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Montana Renewables is a subsidiary of Calumet in Great Falls and is permitted for 15,000 barrels per stream day of renewable feedstocks, which are converted into low-emission sustainable alternatives that directly replace fossil fuel products, according to the company.

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The renewable fuels plant began operations in late 2022.

In April, the company achieved design throughput capacity and completed the startup of its sustainable aviation fuel and pretreatment units at the Great Falls facility.

The company converted part of the existing Calumet refinery into a renewable diesel plant.

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When fully operational, Montana Renewables will “use waste feedstocks to produce low-emission alternatives that directly replace fossil fuel products including renewable hydrogen, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel,” according to the company.