Aviation accounts for 3% of the world’s CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere. In other words, airplanes are direct contributors to climate change. That’s why almost the entire sector is making efforts to innovate and research sustainable fuels. Today, we have some good news on that front.
Gulfstream Aerospace has made history by completing the world’s first transatlantic flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with one of its G600 aircraft, flying from Savannah (Georgia) to Farnborough (England) in six hours and 56 minutes.
With so much attention from the aerospace sector focused on ways to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, it was inevitable that a sort of race would occur to accomplish the first transatlantic flight using 100% SAF.
Non-renewable fossil fuels, but no electric aircraft
Companies like Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce have entered the fray, but the prize was claimed by a Gulfstream business jet powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines.
The goal of SAF is to reduce aviation carbon emissions by relying much less on fossil fuels.
These sources include: corn; seed oils; algae; animal fats; agricultural residues; forestry residues; wood residues; liquid and solid municipal waste; and energy crops.
According to Gulfstream, SAF has the potential to reduce net carbon emissions by 70% and also decrease sulfur emissions.
The data from the transatlantic flight on November 19, 2023, will be used not only to persuade the US FAA that 100% SAF is safe for general use but also to enhance the fuel further, aiming to further reduce emissions and improve performance at low temperatures during extended flights.