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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Lu

SA2024: Airbus A350 soars with Sustainable Aviation Fuel


Airbus returns to the Singapore Airshow this year with their A350-1000 demonstrator aircraft, participating in the flying display segment of the airshow from February 20-22. The A350-1000, registry F-WMIL, is utilising a 35% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) during the flying display. As part of a special media tour, we were invited to witness the refuelling of the Airbus A350-1000 using SAF at Singapore Changi Airport.

This new fuel, provided by Shell Aviation, meets certification requirements set by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) EU Requirements. Derived from used cooking oil and tallow feedstock, SAF is a certified jet fuel (Jet-A/A1) that has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by an average of 80% as compared to traditional fossil fuel sources. Airbus's current aircraft models can operate with up to 50% SAF, with a goal to enable all its aircraft to utilise 100% SAF by 2030.

The A350-1000 soars onwards with SAF.

How does using SAF help with carbon reduction? The answer is in it's lifecycle. When SAF is burned, it still generates emissions similar to those of fossil fuels. However, unlike traditional jet fuels that extract fossil resources and release stored carbon into the atmosphere, SAF primarily utilizes carbon from current carbon cycle sources in various feedstocks. Consequently, the CO2 emitted during a flight using SAF is reabsorbed by the biomass employed in SAF production.

Graphic by Airbus.

With the latest generation of Rolls-Royce engines, the newest iteration of Airbus A350 aircraft can attain a 25% decrease in both fuel consumption and carbon emissions compared to earlier models of similar aircraft, making an immediate impact and contributes to carbon reduction efforts today.

Airbus's own initiatives to incorporate Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) exemplify the company's dedication to reducing carbon emissions in aviation. By progressively increasing SAF utilization in its own operations, Airbus has set ambitious targets, aiming for a 15% SAF inclusion in its global fuel mix by the end of 2024 and a minimum of 30% by 2030, ultimately aspiring to achieve 100% SAF utilization. Currently, Airbus is conducting flight tests using 100% SAF and evaluating the atmospheric impact of pure SAF emissions from aircraft. Additionally, Airbus actively supports the large-scale development and adoption of SAF by collaborating with airlines, airports, fuel producers, and researchers worldwide. This collaborative effort aims to advance the SAF ecosystem, promoting a more environmentally friendly and sustainable aviation industry.


Photos by Malcolm Lu & Cornelius Kwok


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