Sustainable Aviation Fuel: The Future of Flight
The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel throughout the industry is safe, effective, green, and a step in the right direction. Learn more about SAF’s.
If we are honest, we – as a human race – have done a lot of damage to our planet since we walked in, mainly in the last century. Terms like ozone depletion, global warming, and carbon footprints were just phrases used a few years ago. Now? More and more people are beginning to see the effects of our way of life on our planet. We see that animals are becoming extinct, pollution of airways and waterways is causing damage, and our factory farming practices make us shake our heads.
Thankfully, the percentage of those looking to change things is growing every day. And changing things means finding safer, greener, more environmentally friendly ways of doing things. People aren’t going to give up everything they know, but they may consider alternatives to doing the same thing.
Air travel burns roughly 740 million gallons of fuel per day around the world. Being in the upper atmosphere, these fumes can linger longer and, thus, cause more damage.
So, what can we do about this? We can’t stop air travel, but we can make changes – like a fuel alternative known as sustainable aviation fuel.
What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Sustainable Aviation Fuel, also known as SAF, is a clean (and green) alternative to fossil fuel typically used in jets. SAFs allow planes and jets of all kinds to travel the world while reducing their carbon footprint since it is more sustainable than renewable resources.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel is made from various things, but they are typically made from raw materials. That means SAF’s can make these fuels from things like food scraps, solid waste, newspapers, cooking oil, algae, waste from agriculture and forestry, and more.
Researchers are trying to develop a way for the aviation industry to take advantage of solar energy as a fuel, but that idea has not been put into practice yet.
The Impact of Sustainable Aviation Fuel on our Environment
You already know that if we are switching from fossil fuels to renewable resources for air travel, there will be a huge difference in the amount of carbon released; that its impact on our environment will be a much more positive one.
So, exactly how much can Sustainable Aviation Fuel save in carbon emissions?
SAFs can be up to 80% less carbon-intensive than the typical fossil fuel most often used, according to the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). However, one does need to consider the carbon created when making the SAF and the transportation required to get it to the airport.
The Cost and Affordability of SAF
Every new thing usually hits the market at a higher price, then falls with time. Sustainable Aviation Fuel is a new concept and one that is going to take time to normalize. The process of creating this fuel will become more common, and prices will drop. Currently, though, SAF is more expensive monetarily than fossil fuel.
Though, environmentalists will debate with you about the actual cost of not using this fuel.
Who Can Use this Fuel Alternative?
Perhaps one of the best things about Sustainable Aviation Fuel is that it can be used in any aircraft and considered a drop-in fuel. In other words, it can be handled in the same way regular fossil fuels are.
Because no one is left behind with the advancements in greener fuel solutions, it is an all-encompassing solution for the aviation industry.
How Does Sustainable Aviation Fuel Affect Safety?
When it comes to safety for passengers and jets in the air, there are no safety concerns regarding SAF. That’s because it is no different than using regular fossil fuels. Planes and jets which use this more environmentally friendly alternative still proceed as usual. Without even asking about sustainability practices, one may never even realize the change.
But don’t worry – there is testing done just in case. The American Society for Testing and Materials has certified Sustainable Aviation Fuel for aircraft while in flight. It has been tested in a lab, on the ground, and during flight. Because there is a mix of older and new jets in the sky, the current SAF is blended with 50% fossil fuels. This is to make sure all goes smoothly with current fueling systems. As new aircraft are created, the idea is that the blend limits will change, leading to the use of 100% SAF. Until then, any small change in the way business is done in the air can positively impact the planet.
The Future of Sustainable Aviation Fuel
According to the ATAG, the aviation industry has set a goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050. Will it happen? It could – if more airlines switch to Sustainable Aviation Fuel. With the U.S. Department of Energy predicting that the global need for jet fuel to sustain air travel will increase by 124 billion gallons in 2050, something needs to change.
Many in the private jet travel industry are making the push to normalize the use of SAFs. With more and more turning to this type of fuel, it is making a mark on the industry and setting an example for others to follow. A few major airlines have already started to incorporate SAFs in their flights, including JetBlue, United Airlines, and Lufthansa.
The more private jets begin to use this Sustainable Aviation Fuel, the more it will encourage production to increase.
When you travel, you are imprinting your carbon footprint on the world. Choosing to use travel methods that reduce this footprint – such as choosing private travel, especially those that use sustainable aviation fuel – can further make a case for the more widespread use of SAFs. After all, when the demand is there, things change.
We only get one world, and it is up to us to make better choices to help protect that world. The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel throughout the industry is a step in the right direction. It is safe, effective, and green.