Business jet manufacturer Gulfstream announced today the completion of the first-ever transatlantic flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel, marking a major aviation decarbonization milestone.
The flight from Savannah Georgia to Farnborough Airport in England was accomplished on November 19, using a Gulfstream G600 aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines, both using 100% SAF.
Gulfstream President Mark Burns said:
“Gulfstream is innovating for a sustainable future. One of the keys to reaching business aviation’s long-term decarbonization goals is the broad use of SAF in place of fossil-based jet fuel. The completion of this world-class flight helps to advance business aviation’s overarching sustainability mission and create positive environmental impacts for future generations.”
Fuel accounts for the vast majority of the aviation sector’s emissions. Generally produced from sustainable resources, like waste oils and agricultural residues, SAF producers estimate the fuels can result in lifecycle GHG emissions reductions of as much as 85% relative to conventional fuels.
Efforts to meaningfully increase the use of SAF by airlines face significant challenges, however, including the low supply currently available on the market, and prices well above those of conventional fossil-based fuels. SAF currently represents less than 0.1% of jet fuel volumes, and fuel standards currently allow for only a 50% SAF blend in commercial jet engines.
The flight comes around a week prior to the first-ever planned 100% SAF-powered commercial aircraft transatlantic flight by a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic, scheduled for November 28.
The Gulfstream flight used SAF provided by low carbon fuel provider World Energy, comprised of 100% Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (neat HEFA), which is produced by refining renewable inputs such as oils and fats via hydroprocessing, and has at least 70% lower lifecycle CO2 emissions than fossil-based jet fuel.
The fuel was delivered by World Fuel Services, with other key partners supporting the flight including Honeywell, Safran and Eaton.
“We’d like to thank all our partners for their help in making this milestone flight happen, and for their ongoing partnership in collaborating with the extended SAF community to champion the aviation industry’s path to 100% SAF usage.”
Anthony Rossi, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at Pratt & Whitney Canada, added:
“Gulfstream continues to break new ground in the sustainable aviation space, and we applaud them for completing this mission as we work to validate the compatibility of our engines with unblended SAF.”