Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Gulfstream nails industry-first 100% sustainable aviation fuel flight

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. has flown a G650 business jet fuelled with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a feat the company calls a first among business jet manufacturers. The flight took place from Gulfstream’s worldwide headquarters in Savannah and was flown in partnership with engine supplier Rolls-Royce on the G650 BR725 engine.

The SAF used during the test is made in the U.S. and consists of two components: HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) and Synthesized Aromatic Kerosene (SAK). The HEFA is produced from waste fat and plant oils by low-carbon fuel specialist World Energy in Paramount, California, while the SAK is made from plant sugars by Wisconsin-based Virent Inc.

This in-development and fully sustainable fuel eliminate the need for the addition of further petroleum-based components. It enables a 100% drop-in SAF that can be used in existing jet engines and infrastructure without any modifications. This sustainable fuel has the potential to reduce net carbon emissions lifecycle by nearly 80% compared with conventional jet fuel, with the possibility of further reductions.

Gulfstream’s sustainability strategy rests on three pillars – energy and emissions, operations, and culture and learning – and supports industry goals established by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). The targets are a 2% improvement in fuel efficiency per year from 2010 to 2020, climate-neutral growth from 2020, and zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

“Gulfstream has long prioritized sustainable products and practices through innovations in aerodynamics, aircraft technologies, engineering, manufacturing, and infrastructure, as well as in facilities operations and our investments in SAF research and development,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream.

Current certifications only allow for Rolls-Royce engines to be powered with fuel composed of no more than 50% SAF, Rolls-Royce says.