Heathrow airport is collaborating with Vitol Aviation and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) firm Neste to incorporate SAF into its main fuel supply. The move comes ahead of the G7 summit in June, and makes Heathrow the first major UK airport to use the cleaner fuel into its mix.
Neste’s SAF is made from renewable waste and raw material residue such as animal fat and used cooking oil – reducing up to 80% of carbon emissions compared to typical fossil-based jet fuel. The fuel was added to Heathrow’s main supply on June 3rd and while it is currently only a small supply, it will serve as a blueprint for other airports seeking to follow suit. Further supplies of the fuel – delivered by Vitol- are expected in the coming month.
In a statement Leticia Hachuel, Global Account Manager from Vitol Aviation said: “Sustainability has always been important to us as a supplier, and to airlines and their passengers. We are delighted to be the first to deliver sustainable aviation fuel to Heathrow. Whilst this is proof of concept, it demonstrates how lower-emission options for flying are achievable. We are looking at how we can use our expertise to offer more sustainable options.”
Neste predicts global air traffic to double over the next 15 years, and sourcing emission-cutting solutions are a priority for aviation majors. The industry has already set the goal of carbon neutral growth from 2020 onwards, and while a greater infrastructure overhaul such as electrifying planes are in the nascent stages, adopting SAF is an immediate, and viable, means of hitting the target.
The biofuels firm has a current annual capacity of 100,000 tons of SAF, though this is expected to rise with a new Singapore-based refinery in the pipeline, as well as an additional investment into a Rotterdam refinery. With these new sites, Neste predicts that by 2023 it will have capacity to produce around 1.5m tons of SAF every year.