What is sustainable aviation fuel and how is it made? And how does it get to planes?


It confirms the strong commitment of all parties involved – international aviation fuel supplier Q8Aviation, easyJet, Gatwick Airport Ltd and Neste – to achieve a net reduction in carbon emissions in aviation fuel and to work towards an ultimate goal for aviation to achieve zero net emissions. by 2050.

But what is Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and how is it made?

Rachel Thompson, Head of Sustainability at Gatwick, Hugh McConnellogue, Head of Operations for Easyjey at Gatwick, Henry Smith MP, Jonathan Wood, Vice President of Renewable Aviation at Neste, Jon Wicks, Director of Procurement and Q8 Aviation logistics

Well, Q8Aviation has delivered the first supply of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to the Gatwick Airport fuel supply.

Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel, which is fully certified, is produced from 100% renewable and sustainable waste and residue feedstocks, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. In its neat form and throughout its life cycle, Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to the use of fossil jet fuel.

The process begins with the SAF produced by Neste which is blended with Jet A-1 fuel at an upstream depot at Gatwick Airport to create a fuel compatible with existing aircraft engines and airport infrastructure, without requiring additional investment. Q8Aviation then delivers the fuel to the main storage tanks at Gatwick Airport for supplying easyJet aircraft via the airport fire hydrant system.

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The first easyJet flight takes off from Gatwick Airport using an air conditioning system …

When launching the first flight from Gatwick to use SAF, we met Jonathan Wood, responsible for Neste’s renewable aviation fuel activities in Europe and Asia.

He explained how it all worked.

He said: “Renewable jet fuel is chemically the same as fossil kerosene. We make it by collecting oil-based wastes like cooking oil, animal fats, and other bio-based wastes.

“We then clean it, refine it, and put it back into circulation as a jet fuel.

“It’s a bit like renewable diesel where we mainly recycle waste rather than extracting it from the ground.

“It’s been 10 years in the works, but Neste made the decision to invest in new production capacity and in the collection of raw materials so that we can bring them to market in the last year.

“We sell it to airlines in Europe, North America and Asia. It really took off last year. There have been trials and demonstrations before, but now we are supplying regularly to all three areas.

“It’s fun and it’s a growing business, but more importantly, it fits perfectly into the climate change agenda. We need to find circular solutions to avoid drawing more fossil fuels out of the ground and to put carbon into circulation.

“I think this company and other competitive companies are investing in making this type of renewable jet fuel and we have a big job ahead of us.

“This is essential to ensure that we do not ultimately want to increase our carbon emissions, on the contrary, we want to reduce them and this type of sustainable aviation fuel has the added advantage that it contains less particles and not made of a lower carbon. point of view, but from the point of view of how it will benefit the local climate and the broader climate change agenda. “

Of the 42 flights using the Neste MY sustainable aviation fuel blend, 39 of them will be easyJet flights operating from Gatwick to Glasgow throughout the COP26 Climate Change Conference, which runs from 31 October to 12 November.

On all 42 flights, CO2 emissions will have been reduced by up to 70 tonnes, further indicating the industry’s intentions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the path to achieving net zero emissions. by 2050.

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