Biofuels are already viable for regular and private jets

Aviation and air pollution

Aviation accounts for roughly 2% of worldwide CO2 emissions. But if we are to take into account its contribution to global warming, that amounts to 3.5%, because of other gases that aviation emits. Furthermore, flights increase roughly 4.6% every year, thus increasing the scope of the problem for the future, all the more because decarbonization of aircraft engines is quite difficult.  On the European side, ACARE has fixed a very challenging 2050 objective (ACARE, Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe 2011) which is to reach a 75% CO2 reduction per passenger kilometre for new technology (aircraft/engines) with new operational practices (air traffic management, flight optimisation) in 2050 relative to aircraft, engines and operations representative of year 2000.

In the short term, especially if we are to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement, which demands to contain temperature increase to 1, 5 ° Celsius, sustainable aviation fuels or SAF seem to be an effective and economically sound way. Indeed, existing jet engines can run on biofuels, especially bio-kerosene without any modification. This is good news both for airliners and any private jet owner.

Emirates and Airbus fly an A 380 on bio-kerosene

Giant Airbus A380 takes off from Finkenwerder on its delivery flight to Dubai with bio-kerosene. The “Beluga” is also getting greener.

Hamburg. Deliveries of the largest passenger aircraft in the world are now routine for Emirates and Airbus. The Arab airline has received an A380 for the 116th time. But there was an innovation at the handover on Friday at the Hamburg plant in Finkenwerder. “Our last A380 delivery flight was partially powered by sustainable aviation fuel – a positive step towards reducing our overall emissions,” said Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark.

Emirates A380: ten tons of bio-fuel on board

For the first time, the giant Airbus was refueled with a mixture of kerosene and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), Emirates announced on Monday. Ten tons of the biokerosene were on board. The fuel used for the flight to Dubai was made in Finland from used cooking oil. “We are closely monitoring developments in sustainable aviation fuel and look forward to the time it can be manufactured on a large scale and at competitive costs,” said Clark. The quantities produced so far are very small compared to the needs of the aviation industry. The prices are several times that of conventional kerosene.

Airbus: Beluga has also been flying with biofuel for a year

Airbus has years of experience in the use of biofuels. From 2016, the addition of SAF was offered for deliveries in Toulouse. Then there was the possibility of handovers in Mobile (USA). For a year now, the European aircraft manufacturer has been adding biofuel to the Beluga transport aircraft in Hamburg. This July, two A321LRs were delivered to the Canadian airline Air Transat for the first time on Finkenwerder. For the A380, this was the Hamburg premiere, said an Airbus spokesman.

Emirates is expected to receive two more A380s in 2020

Emirates is by far the A380’s largest customer. This year two more of these new giant jets are to be transferred from Hamburg to Dubai. One of them will receive the new premium economy class. In the next year, however, the production of the machine will be stopped because there were not enough orders for the machine. Airbus could only sell 251 copies.

Emirates boss considers A380 a “success story”

When the travel bookings pick up, the aircraft will be used again on more routes, says Emirates boss Clark: “The aircraft will remain our flagship for the next decade.” For him, the A380 remains a “success story”.