Aviation sustainability developments from around the world

Globe zoomed in to Eurasia

United Airlines flies aircraft full of passengers using 100% sustainable fuel to operate one engine

In December 2021 United Airlines flew the first passenger flight operating one engine on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with the other running on conventional jet fuel to prove there are no operational differences between the two. The flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Washington D.C's Ronald Reagan National Airport demonstrated that SAF is a scalable solution to help decarbonize the aviation industry, without relying on traditional carbon offsets. The airline also announced new corporate participants joining the Eco-Skies Alliance, an effort to collectively purchase 7.1 million gallons of SAF this year including Microsoft, Salesforce and Visa.

Emirates and GE Aviation commit to test flight programme using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel to reduce CO2 emissions

Emirates and GE Aviation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a programme that will see an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, powered by GE90 engines, conduct a test flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by the end of 2022. Currently, SAF approved for use is a blend of petroleum-based jet fuel and a SAF component with a maximum blend limit of 50%. The 100% SAF test flight is expected to demonstrate how widebody commercial aircraft using jet fuel entirely made from alternative sources can fly safely with no operational impacts, thereby lowering significantly lifecycle CO2 emissions compared to petroleum-based fuels.

Embraer presents the Energia Family – Four New Aircraft Concepts Using Renewable Energy Propulsion Technologies

Embraer recently announced Energia, a family of concept aircraft that it is exploring to help the industry achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Energia is comprised of four concept aircraft of varying sizes that incorporate different propulsion technologies – electric, hydrogen fuel cell, dual-fuel gas turbine, and hybrid-electric. Although the Energia airplanes are still on the drawing board, Embraer has already made advances in reducing emissions from its existing aircraft. It has tested drop-in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), mixes of sugarcane and camelina plant-derived fuel and fossil fuel on its family of E-Jets. The company is targeting to have all Embraer aircraft SAF-compatible by 2030.

Volotea joins VINCI Airports’ forest carbon sink programme

Volotea and VINCI Airports have signed a partnership agreement that enables Volotea to join VINCI Airports’ recently launched forest carbon sink programme, in order to offset its residual carbon emissions and those of its customers and partners. This agreement sets out guidelines for implementing high-quality, certified forest carbon sink projects, which will draw on Volotea and VINCI Airport’ local operations and which will be developed in partnership with regional stakeholders, so as to drive local development. Recently initiated at Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport, where Volotea opened a new base in June 2021, these projects will benefit from VINCI Airports’ international network, which consists of 45 airports in 12 countries, allowing for a greater variety of projects.

Outcome of COP26 : International Aviation Climate Ambition Declaration

23 nations signed the International Aviation Climate Ambition Declaration. The Declaration recognizes the need for aviation to “grow sustainably” and reiterates ICAO’s role to implement short, medium and long-term climate goals for the industry. Ensuring the maximum effectiveness of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), and the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are key aims of the Declaration.


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