Emirates carrier tests Boeing 777 with sustainable fuel – NBC Chicago

Long-haul carrier Emirates successfully flew a Boeing 777 on a test flight on Monday with an engine powered entirely by so-called sustainable aviation fuel. It comes as carriers around the world try to reduce their carbon footprint.

Flight No. EK2646 flew for just under an hour over the coast of the United Arab Emirates, after taking off from Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, and heading for the Persian Gulf before returning to land. The fuel powered one of Boeing’s two General Electric Co. engines, the other running on conventional jet fuel for safety reasons.

“This flight is a defining moment for Emirates and a positive step for our industry as we work collectively to tackle one of our biggest challenges – reducing our carbon footprint,” said Adel al-Redha, COO of Emirates. Emirates, in a statement.

Emirates, a state-owned airline under the rule of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, described the sustainable fuel as a blend “which reflects the qualities of jet fuel”. It included fuel from Neste, a Finnish company, and Virent, a company based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Virent describes itself as using plant-based sugars to make the compounds needed for sustainable jet fuel, while Neste’s fuel comes from vegetable oils and animal fats. These fuels reduce the release of heat-trapping carbon dioxide typically burned by engines in flight.

Aviation emits just one-sixth the amount of carbon dioxide produced by cars and trucks, according to the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit research group. However, planes are used by far fewer people per day, meaning aviation is a higher source of greenhouse gas emissions per capita.

Aircraft and engine makers have designed more efficient models, in part to help reduce jet fuel costs, one of the biggest expenses airlines face. Emirates, for example, used more than 5.7 tonnes of jet fuel last year, costing it $3.7 billion of its $17 billion annual spend.

But analysts suggest sustainable fuels can cost three or more times the cost of jet fuel, which will likely drive up ticket prices as aviation restarts after shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic.

It was not immediately clear how much the fuel used in the Emirates test on Monday cost per barrel. Jet fuel averaged $146 a barrel at the end of last week, according to S&P Global Platts.

Climate change has already begun to erode many of the wonders of the Earth that humans have taken for granted for centuries, from the Amazon rainforest to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. In the next part of his climate change survival guide, NBCLX storyteller Chase Cain explains how taking the time to enjoy nature and be grateful for our planet can motivate us to take action on climate change.

The United Arab Emirates, a major oil producer and member of OPEC, will host the next United Nations climate negotiations, or COP28, from November. Already, the Seven Sheikhs’ Federation has come under fire from campaigners for appointing the CEO of Abu Dhabi’s state oil company to lead the UN negotiations known as the Conference of the Parties – hence the COP name.

NBC Chicago

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