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AIRBUS: USE OF 100% SAF SHOWS SIGNIFICANT NON-CO2 EMISSION REDUCTIONS

Global model simulations estimate 26% reduction in contrails' climate impact when using 100% SAF.

  www.airbus.com
AIRBUS: USE OF 100% SAF SHOWS SIGNIFICANT NON-CO2 EMISSION REDUCTIONS

Results from the world's first in-flight study of the impact of using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial aircraft show a reduction in soot particles and formation of contrail ice crystals compared to using conventional Jet A-1 fuel.

The ECLIF3 study, in which Airbus, Rolls-Royce, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and SAF producer Neste collaborated, was the first to measure the impact of 100% SAF use to emissions from both engines of an Airbus A350 powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and followed by a DLR chase plane.

Compared to a reference Jet A-1 fuel, the number of contrail ice crystals per mass of unblended SAF consumed was reduced by 56%, which could significantly reduce the climate-warming effect of contrails.

Global climate model simulations conducted by DLR were used to estimate the change in the energy balance in Earth’s atmosphere - also known as radiative forcing - by contrails. The impact of contrails was estimated to be reduced by at least 26 percent with 100% SAF use compared to contrails resulting from the Jet A-1 reference fuel used in ECLIF3. These results show that using SAF in flight could significantly reduce the climate impact of aviation in the short term by reducing non-CO2 effects such as contrails, in addition to reducing CO2 emissions over the lifecycle of SAF.

The research team has reported its findings in the Copernicus journal Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics (ACP) as part of a peer-reviewed scientific process, and provides the first in-situ evidence of the climate impact mitigation potential of using pure, 100% SAF on a commercial aircraft. The ECLIF3 programme, which also includes researchers from the National Research Council of Canada and the University of Manchester, conducted in-flight emissions tests and associated ground tests in 2021. Click here to read the full report.

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