Home Travel & Hospitality Emirates becomes world’s first airline to operate A380 flight with 100% sustainable fuel

Emirates becomes world’s first airline to operate A380 flight with 100% sustainable fuel

by Staff Reporter
Published: Last Updated on
Emirates A380 flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

Emirates has become the world’s first airline to operate an A380 demonstration flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The flight, commanded by Captain Khalid Binsultan and Captain Philippe Lombet, took off from Dubai International Airport (DXB) with one of four engines powered on 100% SAF, helping demonstrate its potential as a drop-in replacement that matches jet fuel’s technical and chemical requirements, while being a more sustainable alternative. SAF can reduce carbon emissions by up to 85% over the fuel’s life cycle when compared to conventional jet fuel.

Emirates A380 flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

Demonstration flights like the one conducted pave the way for future standardisation, qualification and adoption for 100% SAF flying, as governments adopt broader strategies to support the production and scale up of SAF.

The A380 demonstration flight underlines the performance and compatibility of SAF, making it a safe and reliable fuel source, and contributes to the growing body of research carried out by the industry to evaluate the beneficial effects of 100% SAF on aircraft performance. SAF is currently capped at a 50% blend limit in engines for commercial flights.

The Emirates A380 demonstration flight comes as the aviation industry, international organisations, regulatory bodies and high-level officials driving policy-related decisions converge in Dubai for the Third International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3). Dedicated collaborators from Airbus, Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney, Neste, Virent and ENOC have been working on the testing, technical assessments and data analysis for today’s flight.

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The 100% drop-in SAF used on the flight includes renewable aromatics and closely mimics the characteristics of conventional jet fuel. This is the first time that drop-in SAF has been used on an A380 aircraft, with the expectation of full compatibility across the aircraft’s existing systems.

Emirates A380 flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

The flight carried four tonnes of SAF, comprised of HEFA-SPK provided by Neste (hydro processed esters and fatty acids synthetic paraffinic kerosene) and HDO-SAK from Virent (hydro deoxygenated synthetic aromatic kerosene). ENOC helped to secure the neat SAF comprised of HEFA-SPK, and blended it with Sustainable Aviation Kerosene (SAK) at its facility in Dubai International Airport ahead of the demonstration, and also carried out into-plane services.

The 100% SAF was used in one Engine Alliance GP7200 engine, while conventional jet fuel was used in the other three engines. The PW980 auxiliary power unit (APU) from Pratt & Whitney Canada also ran on 100% SAF.

Last week, robust engine testing for one A380 Engine Alliance GP7200 engine using 100% SAF was carried out, with the objective of validating the engine’s capability to run on the specially blended 100% drop-in SAF without affecting its performance or requiring any modifications.  Ground engine testing took place at the state-of-the-art Emirates Engineering Centre in Dubai.

tanvir@dubainewsweek.com

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