‘Trailblazing’ net-zero transatlantic flight powered by cooking oil to take off in 2023

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The world’s archetypal net-zero transatlantic formation volition instrumentality to the skies adjacent year, the UK authorities has pledged.

The UK-US formation volition beryllium powered by 100 per cent sustainable aviation substance (SAF), a low-emissions substance made from discarded materials similar utilized cooking oil.

Such a formation volition “usher successful a caller epoch of guilt-free flying successful the coming decades,” the Department of Transport declared.

But what does it mean exactly, and conscionable however greenish is it really?

What are SAFs?

SAFs are produced from sustainable feedstocks similar utilized cooking oil, cultivation waste, and household trash specified arsenic packaging, nutrient scraps, and textiles.

SAFs inactive springiness disconnected c emissions erstwhile burnt. However the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that they curb emissions by astir 80 per cent implicit the people of the “fuel life-cycle.”

This is due to the fact that they are made from discarded products, wherever the c has already been emitted, oregon from plants that sorb carbon dioxide portion they grow.

SAFs are presently mixed - astatine a 50 per cent ratio - with accepted fossil fuels.

The UK authorities person offered £1 cardinal (€1.18 million) to whichever transatlantic hose tin present a 100 per cent SAF formation successful 2023.

Combined with “greenhouse state removals, 100 per cent SAF volition alteration the transportation of a nett zero flight”, a authorities spokesperson said.

Transport caput Grant Shapps promised to fast-track investigating and approvals for SAF technology.

“This trailblazing nett zero emissions flight, a satellite first, volition show the captious relation that sustainable aviation substance tin play successful decarbonising aviation successful enactment with our ambitious nett zero targets,” helium said.

Further details connected erstwhile the formation volition take-off volition look successful coming months.

Will we ever alert guilt-free?

Aviation accounts for astir 2 per cent of the world's planetary c emissions. A Lund University study recovered that avoiding conscionable 1 transatlantic formation saves 8 times much greenhouse state emissions successful a twelvemonth than recycling.

But IATA - whose members transportation much than 80 per cent of the world’s flyers - plans to scope nett zero by 2050.

SAFs are often touted arsenic the champion way to decarbonisation. Oneworld confederation providers - including British Airways, American Airlines and Finnair - person pledged to usage 10 per cent SAF by 2030.

The European Commission’s ‘ReFuelEU’ inaugural projected mandating substance suppliers to usage 2 per cent SAF from 2025 - gradually expanding to 63 per cent successful 2050.

But existent uptake is highly low. In 2019, SAF accounted for conscionable 0.1 per cent of each pitchy substance utilized worldwide. Scaling up is simply a problem, arsenic SAFs are much than doubly arsenic costly arsenic mean fuels.

The UK authorities has asked the aviation manufacture to bring astatine slightest 3 commercialized SAF accumulation plants online successful Britain by 2025. It has besides pledged £180m (€212m) to the SAF industry.

However, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) estimates that the UK aviation manufacture volition usage conscionable 7 per cent SAF by 2030.

Meanwhile, clime consultancy Element Energy has slammed the authorities for its “unrealistic” jet-zero plan.

In a study released today, they accused the authorities of relying connected unproven technology, and urged them to halt planned airdrome expansions astatine Gatwick and Luton.

Climate-conscious travellers are progressively turning to different modes of transport, including train travel.

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