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Heathrow successfully incorporates sustainable aviation fuel into its operation

Heathrow successfully incorporates sustainable aviation fuel into its operation
Heathrow successfully incorporates sustainable aviation fuel into its operation
Written by Harry Johnson

Sustainable aviation fuel to partly power Heathrow jets as airport moves to reduce emissions.

  • Working with Vitol Aviation and Neste, Heathrow has become the first UK major airport to successfully integrate sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its fuel distribution
  • Ahead of the G7 Summit, the fuel will be blended into the UK’s hub airport’s main fuel supply from 3 June
  • The supply, equivalent for fuel needed to power between 5-10 short haul flights, aims to serve as proof of concept to enable much greater use of SAF going forward

Heathrow has successfully incorporated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its operation, ahead of the G7 Summit. Working alongside Vitol Aviation and Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™, the fuel will be incorporated into the airport’s main fuel supply today, and blended to use across flights operating at Heathrow over the next few days. Whilst the fuel supply may be comparatively small – equivalent to fueling 5-10 short haul flights – this commercial delivery will establish proof of concept at the UK’s largest airport. Achieving this milestone is a critical first step in demonstrating to Government that the technology will work in reducing carbon from aviation so long as the correct policy framework to incentivise take up at scale is achieved.

Vitol Aviation’s expertise in the specialist handling of jet fuel will be combined with Neste’s market-leading SAF production capabilities. Neste MY SAF is produced 100% from renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal and fish fat waste. Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel in its neat form and over the life cycle, reduces up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil jet fuel use.

Increasing the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is the key tool in the decarbonization of aviation. Together with other technologies, it offers a pathway to achieving net zero aviation in line with the Paris Agreement. As we approach COP26 in Glasgow now is the moment for the Government, investors and industry to collaborate in scaling-up the use of SAF to ensure real momentum this decade.

Today’s announcement marks the next step in Heathrow and the UK aviation sector’s plan for net zero flying. To achieve rapid scale up of production of SAFs, Heathrow is calling for the UK Government to set escalating mandates that requires a minimum of 10% SAF use by airlines by 2030, increasing to at least 50% by 2050. This should be alongside commercial incentives for airlines to stimulate demand and foster investment, and to help ensure the UK is at the forefront of SAF production.

Heathrow has already been engaging with partners including airlines on committing to SAF so the UK’s hub can achieve its objective to become one of the most sustainable airports in the world. 58% of Heathrow airlines by air traffic movements have committed to 10% SAF usage by 2030. The Committee on Climate Change’s most optimistic projection for SAF usage by 2030 was 7%, demonstrating Heathrow flights are already 84% on the way towards this projection.