Sustainability Spotlight: Singapore Airlines Signs On for 1-Year Sustainable Airline Fuel Pilot Program

Panasonic Avionics< Panasonic Avionics
03/22/22 2 MIN READ

Singapore Airlines and its low-cost airline Scoot have signed on to a one-year pilot to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with the goal of cutting carbon emissions by 2,500 metric tonnes.

Delivery of SAF to Singapore Changi Airport is anticipated to begin by July 2022. Supplied through a partnership between Neste and ExxonMobil, the company will receive 1.25 million liters of Neste’s SAF product, then have it mixed with jet fuel from ExxonMobil.

The news comes as more and more airlines are adopting SAF. According to IATA, since 2016 more than 370,000 flights have used some amount of SAF in its fuel tanks.

Singapore Airlines sees SAF as a key component to its carbon neutrality goals.

“Sustainable fuels will be one of the key decarbonization levers in the aviation sector,” said Lee Wen Fen, SVP of Corporate Planning with Singapore Airlines in a news release. “This will support [the airline’s] commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, reinforcing our long-standing strategy of working towards decarbonization and environmental sustainability across our operations.”

Singapore Airlines is a part of the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative. It also supports IATA’s strategy for the industry to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. That will require mitigating 1.8 gigatons of carbon emissions, said IATA Director General Willie Walsh in 2021.

He estimated that SAF could lead to up to 65% of those carbon reduction efforts. “Achieving sustainable global connectivity cannot be accomplished on the backs of airlines alone. All parts of the aviation industry must work together within a supportive government policy framework to deliver the massive changes that are needed, including an energy transition,” said Walsh.

Neste’s product is made of used cooking oil, animal fat waste, and waste from vegetable oil production processes. According to Neste, its SAF product—when used at 100% concentration—cuts greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. That said, commercial aviation is only currently permitted to use up to 50% SAF, with jet fuel composing the remainder of the blend.

Meanwhile, Neste is continuing testing on 100% SAF. Early results show that “SAF releases fewer particulates than conventional kerosene at all engine operating conditions, which points to the potential for improvement in air quality around airports and reduced climate impact”.

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