Dubai’s Emirates to conduct test flight with 100% sustainable fuel by 2022
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Dubai’s Emirates to conduct test flight with 100% sustainable fuel by 2022

Dubai’s Emirates to conduct test flight with 100% sustainable fuel by 2022

Currently approved for use is a blend of petroleum-based Jet A or Jet A-1 fuel and a SAF component with a maximum blend limit of 50 per cent

Emirates sustainable fuel

Emirates has signed an MoU with GE Aviation to develop a programme that will see an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, powered by GE90 engines, conduct a test flight using 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by the end of 2022.

Currently, SAF approved for use is a blend of petroleum-based Jet A or Jet A-1 fuel and a SAF component with a maximum blend limit of 50 per cent.

One of GE’s fuel experts chairs an international task force to develop standardised industry specifications supporting adoption of 100 per cent SAF, which does not require blending with conventional jet fuel.

The planned 100 per cent SAF test flight next year is expected to demonstrate how widebody commercial aircraft using jet fuel made from alternative sources can lower lifecycle CO2 emissions compared to petroleum-based fuels with no operational issues.

Emirates said that it will work closely with regulators to secure approvals for experimental type certification, and will also coordinate with airframe, Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) on pre- and post-flight requirements, in addition to closely working with SAF suppliers on procurement and delivery logistics.

GE Aviation meanwhile will complete necessary technical reviews to confirm the engines meet performance specifications and provide any pre- and post-flight directions as needed.

All GE Aviation engines can operate with approved SAF, which is made from plant oils, algae, greases, fats, waste streams, alcohols, sugars, captured CO2, and other alternative feedstock sources. By starting with alternative feedstocks instead of fossil fuels, CO2 emissions can be reduced during production.

Emirates first flight powered by SAF was in 2017, operating from the Chicago O’Hare airport.

Emirates received its first A380 powered by SAF in December 2020, and also uplifted 32 tonnes of SAF for its flights from Stockholm earlier that year, with the support of Swedavia’s Biofuel Incentive Programme. Flights from Oslo have also begun operating on SAF under the Norwegian government SAF mandate policy.

Besides, the airline is also a member of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow coalition, established by the World Economic Forum, which is supporting a transition to SAF as part of a pathway towards carbon-neutral flying.

“Emirates is committed to supporting initiatives that help minimise its CO2 emissions, and we’ve already made great strides in fuel efficiency and conservation as well as operational advancements across different areas of our business. Our partnership with GE Aviation to prepare for the test flight will be an important step towards securing certification of flights that are powered by 100 percent SAF,” said Adel Al Redha, COO of Emirates Airline.

Earlier this week, Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre (Tadweer) signed a joint project development agreement with Etihad Airways to facilitate the development of the first Waste-to-Sustainable Aviation Fuel (WtF) plant in the Middle East Region. Upon completion, the plant will have the potential to transform up to four million tonnes of municipal solid waste every year into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Read: Abu Dhabi to get Middle East’s first waste-to-sustainable aviation fuel plant

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