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First Ever Transatlantic Flight With Renewables

Gulfstream Aerospace has flown into history as one of its G600 aircraft completed the world's first transatlantic flight burning 100 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) from Savannah, Georgia, to Farnborough, England, in six hours and 56 minutes.

Gulfstream G600 business jet
Credit: Gulfstream

The aviation industry currently accounts for around 3 percent of global carbon emissions and with so much aerospace industry attention focused on ways to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, it's hardly surprising that something of a race would ensue to achieve the first 100 percent SAF-fueled transatlantic flight.

Companies like Virgin Atlantic and Rolls-Royce have thrown their respective hats into the ring, but the prize has been won by a Gulfstream business jet powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, making the historic flight on 19 November.

SAF is a new type of fuel that's designed to cut aviation CO2 by using sources that rely much less on fossil fuels. These sources include maize, seed oils, algae, farm and forestry residues, liquid and solid municipal wastes, and crops specifically grown for energy use.

According to Gulfstream, SAF has the potential to reduce net carbon emissions by a whopping 70 percent. Data from the transatlantic flight will be used to not only persuade the US FAA to make 100 percent SAF legal for general use, but also to improve the fuel to further reduce emissions and to improve performance under cold temperatures for extended flights.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has taken a major green step, announcing that not only has its giant UltraFan demo jet engine been run at full power on 100 percent SAF, but tests have proven all its current civilian engines are compatible with 100 percent SAF. "We estimate that to reach Net Zero flying by 2050, a combination of highly-efficient, latest-generation gas turbines such as UltraFan operating on 100 percent SAF are likely to contribute around 80 percent of the total solution, which is why today’s announcement is such an important milestone for Rolls-Royce and the wider industry," said Simon Burr of Rolls-Royce plc.


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