In cooperation with Exolum, a Think Tank subsidiary of the CLH Group focused, among other things, on decarbonization, Atlas Air carried out a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Test Flight on 21DEC20 – the longest night of the year, and Winter Solstice, which for the Celts was symbolic of “rebirth” and “renewal”, thus coincidentally reinforcing the test flight’s meaning.
The Exolum platform, Avikor, provided the SAF that powered Flight 562, which departed from Spain’s Zaragoza Airport on Monday 21DEC20, carrying a shipment of goods from an unnamed Atlas customer,
and headed for Mexico City. The fuel blend contained 2.33% SAF which had been derived from fresh vegetable oil. “This is believed to be the first transoceanic commercial cargo flight in Spain
to include a blend of SAF and Jet A-1 fuel,” the press release stated, going on to underline that “using life cycle analysis, SAF has been shown to reduce carbon emissions by up to
Positive impact on the air cargo industry
“Innovative sustainable aviation fuel test projects demonstrate our ability to partner with our customers and suppliers to help create a more sustainable future for the air cargo industry and global commerce,” said John W. Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide. “Through ongoing meaningful partnerships, we will drive wider acceptance and availability of SAF, which will lower costs and have a positive impact on our industry and the environment.”
An adaptable SAF
“One of the main targets of Avikor is to promote universally a more sustainable way to fly, offering both individuals and enterprises the possibility of using sustainable aircraft fuel which reduces fuel emissions during flights and helps to improve our planet responsibly, without sacrificing the convenience of flying,” said Andrés Suarez, Global Strategy & Innovation Lead of Grupo CLH and CEO of Exolum.
Avikor produced the fuel in Madrid from where it was transported to Zaragoza. “Given the adaptable nature of SAF, no additional adjustments to fuel or engine components were necessary. The final blend was certified according to DEF STAND 91/091, with the SAF component certified for sustainability in accordance with International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) guidelines.”
More SAF, more future
With the test flight, Atlas Air joins the likes of Lufthansa Cargo, Etihad, and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, who have also invested in promoting SAF flights and off-setting carbon emissions through green project investments.
The EU, too, as part of the DEC19 European Green Deal, should be coming up with a proposal early this year as to how the production and use of sustainable aviation fuels can be supported and increased, in order to meet the Paris Agreement climate change goals.
An EU press release from 23NOV20 states “A number of policy measures are already in place to increase sustainable aviation fuel use, but production and use of these fuels in Europe remains low. Eight different pathways for producing sustainable aviation fuels that can be used without changes to aircraft or refueling infrastructure have been authorized, but a number of technical, feedstock-related, and commercial barriers exist. Development of electro-fuels, which also represent a 'drop-in' type of fuel with potential to help efforts towards carbon neutrality in aviation, is considered technically viable but would require policy action for commercial development. The Commission is conducting a public consultation and is studying a number of policy measures, including a mandatory minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels to be supplied to airlines and/or to be used by airlines and a financial and technical support mechanism to promote the production and use of these fuels.”
Slowly, but surely…
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