Emirates has operated a demonstration flight on a Boeing 777-300ER, powering one of its engines 100% with Neste’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight took off on 30 January from Dubai International Airport (DXB) flying for more than one hour over the Dubai coastline. It is the first demonstration flight in the Middle East and North Africa in which one of the aircraft engines was powered by 100% SAF.
Emirates’ demonstration flight supports broader efforts to work towards a future where aircraft are certified to run on 100% SAF fuels. It adds to the body of data paving the way for standardization and future approval of 100% SAF as a replacement for conventional jet fuel, well above the currently allowed 50% blend limit.
The test flight further demonstrates the compatibility of SAF as a safe and reliable propulsion source, and validates that no changes to the aircraft, engines, fuelling infrastructure, or special maintenance are required on the Boeing 777-300ER or GE90 engine.
Neste and Emirates worked alongside partners GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell and Virent for more than a year to develop a sustainable fuel that closely replicates the properties of conventional jet fuel.
Neste provided their approved Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel (HEFA-SPK) to which aromatic components in Virent’s HDO-SAK (earlier post) were added to produce a 100% drop-in jet fuel that meets all the jet fuel requirements. Eighteen tons of SAF fully made from renewable raw materials powered one GE90 engine during the flight, with conventional fossil jet fuel powering the other engine.
HEFA-SPK (Hydro processed Esters and Fatty Acids - Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene) is one of the seven approved pathways for the production of SAF and currently the only commercially viable production pathway and the pathway Neste uses to produce SAF.