A United Airlines 737 10 was selected to conduct a test for the Boeing/NASA Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project.

Boeing Leads Study of Sustainable Fuel Effects

May 24, 2024
A group of commercial aircraft and jet-engine builders are pooling information from their various research and testing efforts to evaluate the compatibility of using 100% SAF blends with current airplane systems.

Boeing and Airbus are heading an initiative by the International Aerospace Environmental Group to evaluate technical issues related to the compatibility of using sustainable aviation fuel in commercial aerospace. SAF is considered an option for reducing carbon emissions for current aircraft propulsion systems, because the global industry has committed to achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

“This collaboration will help prepare the broader aviation ecosystem for 100% SAF capabilities, as part of the aviation industry goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050,” stated Ryan Faucett, Boeing v.p. of Environmental Sustainability and IAEG board member. “We will share our findings from our SAF compatibility and ground-breaking jet reference fluids research, and continue to collaborate with this Work Group to support a more sustainable aviation future, together.”

Work Group 13 is the body IAEG has formed to conduct the evaluation of SAF. Led by Boeing and Airbus as deputy leader, the group includes Dassault Aviation, GE Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and Safran, among others. Each of the participants has conducted or participated in separate efforts to evaluate SAF use.

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is jet fuel produced from waste oils derived from biological sources (e.g., cooking oil, other non-palm waste oils from plants, agricultural residue, or non-fossil CO2), or solid waste from homes or businesses (e.g., packaging, paper, textiles, food waste.) Currently, commercial aircraft are certified to operate on a maximum of 50% SAF blended with conventional jet fuel, though aircraft and jet-engine manufacturers have made commitments to increase the effective applicability of the alternative fuel.

Working together, the WG 13 members will coordinate 100% SAF testing efforts, for voluntary and unilateral consideration and use. And their test results will help the group inform ASTM International to develop new specifications for 100% SAF.

The group also will engage infrastructure stakeholders (fuel producers, airports, and airlines) to understand what steps may be required to support the transition to this fuel.

"Achieving up to 100% SAF capability for commercial and military aircraft fleets will require a high level of industry collaboration,” stated Dr. Bruno Costes, Airbus senior director of Institutional Relations and Standardisation and IAEG chairman. “Airbus will bring its knowledge and experience from years of 100% SAF demonstration flights, coupled with our technical expertise in developing new fuel standards. SAF will be a key enabler for the decarbonization of the sector by 2050."

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