Milestone Achieved Emirates Airline Conducts Demo Flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Emirates recently conducted a demonstration flight in which one the aircraft’s engines was powered with 100 % sustainable aviation fuel from Neste. Both the parties worked with other partners as well such as GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell and Virent to develop a sustainable fuel that matched the properties of conventional jet fuel.
Espoo/Finland – Emirates, the world’s largest international airline by destinations, has operated its first milestone demonstration flight on a Boeing 777-300ER, powering one of its engines 100 % with Neste’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight took off on 30 January from Dubai International Airport (DXB) flying for more than one hour over the Dubai coastline. It is the first demonstration flight in the Middle East and North Africa in which one of the aircraft engines was powered by 100 % SAF.
Emirates’ demonstration flight supports broader efforts to work towards a future where aircraft are certified to run on 100 % SAF fuels. It adds to the body of data paving the way for standardization and future approval of 100 % SAF as a replacement for conventional jet fuel, well above the currently allowed 50 % blend limit. The test flight further demonstrates the compatibility of SAF as a safe and reliable propulsion source, and validates that no changes to the aircraft, engines, fuelling infrastructure, or special maintenance are required on the Boeing 777-300ER or GE90 engine.
Neste and Emirates worked alongside partners GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell and Virent for over a year to develop a sustainable fuel that closely replicates the properties of conventional jet fuel. Neste provided their approved Neste My Sustainable Aviation Fuel (Hefa-SPK: Hydro processed Esters and Fatty Acids) to which aromatic components in Virent’s HDO-Sak (Hydro Deoxygenated Synthetic Aromatic Kerosene) were added to produce a 100 % drop-in jet fuel that meets all the jet fuel requirements. Eighteen tons of SAF fully made from renewable raw materials powered one GE90 engine during the flight, with conventional fossil jet fuel powering the other engine.
“This flight is a milestone moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to address one of our biggest challenges – reducing our carbon footprint. It has been a long journey to finally see this experimental SAF flight take off. Such initiatives are critical contributors not only to the industry body of knowledge, but also to demonstrating the use of higher blends of SAF for future regulatory approvals. We hope that landmark demonstration flights like this one will help open the door to scale up the SAF supply chain and make it more available and accessible across geographies, and most importantly, affordable for broader industry adoption in the future,” said Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline.
"Sustainable Aviation Fuel plays a crucial role in reducing the emissions of air travel, but to fully leverage its decarbonization potential we need to enable 100 % SAF use. Test flights like this Emirates flight with Neste My Sustainable Aviation Fuel are an important step towards 100 % SAF certification. Neste is working closely together with partners to accelerate the availability and use of SAF as we increase our SAF production capacity to 1.5 million tons per annum by the end of this year. We look forward to growing the supply of SAF also to Dubai,” said Jonathan Wood, Vice President EMEA, Renewable Aviation at Neste.