Boeing, Etihad Airways and World Energy lift sustainable aviation fuel to the next level on ecoDemonstrator programme

Photo: WAM

Boeing and Etihad Airways concluded testing on the aerospace company’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator programme with a cross-country flight using a 50/50 blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel.

Flying from Seattle to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina, Etihad’s newest 787-10 Dreamliner used the maximum sustainable fuel blend permitted for commercial aviation. The transcontinental flight also demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously and optimize routing.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Operating Officer, said, "Together with Boeing and the national airline’s sustainable aviation fuel partners World Energy and EPIC, Etihad used 50,000 gallons of a 50/50 blend of sustainable aviation fuel on the final flight of our ecoDemonstrator 787-10 flight tests. This is a monumental step forward for the sector to prove the viability of producing a 50/50 blend of sustainable aviation fuel [SAF] at a high volume, an important moment for the industry."

Al Bulooki added, "This is a prime example of industry collaboration towards sustainable aviation and innovation. Etihad’s collaboration with Boeing in the ecoDemonstrator programme has been a unique opportunity to lead the aviation industry’s drive for a sustainable future."

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator programme takes promising technologies out of the lab and tests them in the air to accelerate innovation. This year’s programme evaluated four projects to reduce emissions and noise and enhance the safety and health of passengers and crew. All of the 787-10 test flights used a blend of traditional jet fuel and sustainable fuel produced from inedible agricultural wastes to minimize emissions, with the final flight operating at the maximum 50/50 commercial blend.

"Sustainable aviation fuels are proven and work in airplanes flying today and those that will fly tomorrow, but there’s a very limited supply," said Sheila Remes, Vice President of Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "World Energy is making commercial-scale volumes of sustainable fuel at competitive prices, leveraging government low-carbon incentives to accelerate production and use in an industry that relies on liquid fuels."

The fuel from World Energy and supplied to Boeing by EPIC Fuels has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to reduce carbon emissions by more than 75% over the fuel’s life cycle.

"We congratulate Boeing and Etihad for their industry leadership in helping push the technical and sustainability boundaries of SAF," said Bryan Sherbacow, Chief Commercial Officer at World Energy. "This 50/50 blend demonstrates the maximum achievable greenhouse gas reduction commercially available today for aviation fuel."

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