Sustainable Aviation Fuels can help the industry meet environmental goals

Pioneering

How SAF can help the industry meet environmental goals

As climate change protesters go on strike around the world, how can business aviation bring sustainable change to the industry? The Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change, developed a decade ago, was a great start, but as more of the population becomes aware of the impending effect of greenhouse gas emissions, innovation in the industry is more important than ever.

One example of that progress has come in the form of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). In 2019, an event was held at TAG Farnborough Airport to help the business aviation industry understand the viability – and accessibility – of this new alternative to traditional jet fuel. 

Understanding SAFs

SAFs are certified as Jet-A fuel by ATSM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) and have been tested to meet all the same properties as kerosene-based Jet-A, like density, viscosity and energy content per mass unit.

To make SAF, molecules from biofuels are blended with kerosene-based Jet A, at a ratio of up to 50/50. The biofuel is refined from a variety of renewable feedstocks, including used cooking oil and agricultural waste. The makeup of SAF means it doesn’t have the impurities of fossil-based Jet-A, so it’s a cleaner fuel producing less sulfur dioxide and particulate matter and – most importantly – it produces far lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Charles Etter, head of environmental and regulatory affairs at Gulfstream, explains it best: “SAF utilises the carbon already in the biosphere, via recycling.”

How can you recycle carbon?

Instead of being an open-loop and releasing carbon from the ground into the atmosphere like fossil fuels, CO2 emissions from biofuels can be recycled back into the feedstocks they’re made from, creating a circular economy of sorts via SAF use. 

They’re not only used as a viable fuel source on long journeys – SAF are the more sustainable choice, producing from 50 – 70% less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional fossil fuels. 

Uptake and adoption

With those results, the main question that many find themselves asking is pretty obvious:

Why aren’t more companies adopting SAFs as their fuel of choice?

Along with cost, viability is a main concern. But as numerous fights can attest to, SAFs are usable and readily available. However, it’s up to the industry to learn more and adopt SAFs, and up to the policymakers and regulators to create dedicated regulation and fiscal incentives so that supply can meet demand. Once these are in place, operators can make choices that will benefit their company’s long-term goals and the industry’s environmental goals.

Learn More

You can help your company learn about the advantages of SAF! Read more about its benefits in detail at www.futureofsustainablefuel.com/about-sajf