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UK's Heathrow airport starts supplying SAF, calls on govt to take more steps

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Combustível de Aviação S&P Global Commodity Insights

UK's Heathrow airport starts supplying SAF, calls on govt to take more steps


Vitol supplying Neste MY SAF at one of world's largest airports

Supply is comparatively small, will focus on short-haul flights

European aviation sector taking more steps to decarbonize

  • Autor
  • Eklavya Gupte
  • Editora
  • Kshitiz Goliya
  • Commodity
  • Agricultura Energia elétrica Energy Transition Petróleo

UK's Heathrow Airport has started stocking sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, which is produced by Finland's Neste and supplied by trading house Vitol, the companies said June 3.

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This is the first airport in the UK which will be supplying SAF, and comes as more and more airlines are planning to use SAF for their flights as the global aviation sector starts to take more steps to decarbonize.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye also called on the UK government to "create a new British growth industry by backing sustainable aviation fuel production and also be leaders in the race to a net zero 2050."

"Now is the time for less talk and more action and Ministers should set an escalating mandate to blend SAF into fuel and provide incentives that are stable over 5-10 years to foster investment in production, with a target of 10% by 2030 and at least 50% by 2050."

Comparatively small

SAF is a renewable alternative to traditional jet fuel, made by converting sustainable feedstocks into fuel. It is mostly manufactured from biowaste, namely agricultural waste fats and/or oils, or residue raw materials.

"The fuel will be incorporated into the airport's main fuel supply from June 3 and will be blended to use across Heathrow flights over the following days," the statement said.

"Whilst the fuel supply may be comparatively small – equivalent to fueling up to 10 short haul flights – it serves as proof of concept for more flights to be operated using SAF at the UK's hub airport going forward."

As part of the arrangement, Vitol Aviation will be making Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel available at Heathrow Airport ahead of the G7 Summit, which will be held from June 11-13 2021.

"Vitol Aviation intends to deliver further supplies ahead of COP26 to enable attendees to also transit to Glasgow with lower-emissions," it added."

Neste MY SAF is produced 100% from renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste.

"In its neat form and over the life cycle, reduces up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use," it added.

SAF legislation

Many European governments are adopting legislations to push the use of SAF.

Germany's Frankfurt, Finland's Helsinki along with a handful of French airports now supply SAF in Europe.

The French government recently passed a law calling for all aircraft to use at least 1% biofuel by 2022, 2% by 2025 and 5% by 2030.

Last month, Airline group Air France-KLM carried out its "first long-haul flight" powered by SAF, which was produced by France's Total.

Aircraft can currently only operate using a maximum 50% blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel known as Jet A1. But the amount of SAF that can be blended into Jet A1 depends on the purity of the initial petroleum-based product.

The SAF market remains tiny in comparison with the amount of jet fuel traded globally and accounts for only 0.02% of global jet fuel use, according to estimates by S&P Global Platts.

But the SAF market is poised to grow steadily in the coming decades as the aviation and energy sectors collaborate more to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.