UK Government promises first ‘net-zero’ transatlantic flight in 2023

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UK Government promises first ‘net-zero’ transatlantic flight in 2023

The UK Government has pledged to work with the aviation industry to deliver the world’s first net-zero-certified transatlantic flight next year, using a combination of alternative fuels and offsetting to mitigate emissions.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the ambition on 14 May after a meeting with executive decision-makers at airlines, fuel producers and aircraft manufacturers in the US this week. He said that the flight will “demonstrate the vital role that sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) can play in decarbonising aviation”.

The flight will be powered using 100% SAF, with no conventional jet fuel in the mix. The Department for Transport (DfT) has asked the industry to prioritise the use of SAFs made using waste cooking oil and from household waste, as SAFs made using virgin biofuels can be detrimental in terms of land-use.

Currently, international regulations limit the level of SAF in blends to 50%. Flights can only be powered by blends exceeding 50% if the Civil Aviation Authority deems the aircraft suitable for a higher proportion. The DfT and industry will work to obtain this certification; Rolls-Royce has stated that it has already tested large, commercial aero engines using 100% SAF successfully.

SAFs purport to generate lifecycle emissions at levels significantly lower than conventional jet fuel. The DfT is forecasting a reduction of 70-80% in this case. To ensure that the transatlantic flight is net-zero, the DfT will work with the aviation industry to offset residual emissions.

A Department spokesperson told edie: “The Government will not prescribe the greenhouse gas removal approach to be utilised. Rather, it is anticipated that industry will make the decision based on a variety of factors such as innovation, availability, cost and time.”  Read more…

UK Government promises first ‘net-zero’ transatlantic flight in 2023

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