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Airbus Showcases A350-1000 Powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel at Singapore Airshow

Airbus Showcases A350-1000 Powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel at Singapore Airshow

BY ÖYKüM GELEN Published on February 22, 2024 0 COMMENTS

Airbus showcased its A350-1000 aircraft, powered by a 35% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), at the Singapore Airshow. 


Background on SAF


SAF is a certified jet fuel (Jet-A/A1), according to Airbus. Instead of utilizing traditional jet fuels, which are fully fossil-resourced, SAF is a composition of conventional fossil fuel and a range of renewable, synthetic feedstock that can be cooking oils, plant oils, fats, municipal, agricultural, and forestry waste. All Airbus aircraft can fly with a maximum 50% blend of SAF and regular fuel. By 2030, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) plans to have all aircraft and helicopters fly with up to 100% SAF.


A SAF fuel tank next to an Airbus plane | Photo: Airbus


American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, a global standards testing unit, approved eight technical options for producing SAF. Each path has requirements based on different feedstocks and their conversion into fuel.


Two of these requirements are listed as the following:


  • Hydrotreated Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA): Refining vegetable oils, waste oils, and fats into SAF by hydrotreating and hydroprocessing.
  • Alcohol to Jet (AtJ): Transforming alcohol (ethanol, iso-butanol) into SAF by linking the molecules without oxygen.




Reducing Emissions


Approximately 2-3% of the global human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are caused by air transport. SAF can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. Establishing a better relationship with the environment is crucial while progressing towards decarbonization.


The carbon produced by traditional jet fuel does not belong to the Earth's natural carbon cycle. However, fuel burned to produce SAF uses natural carbon, preventing the unnecessary release of carbon emissions.


SAF being delivered to the A350-1000 | Photo: Airbus


SAF at the Singapore Airshow


Airbus is one of the largest exhibitors at this year's Singapore Airshow. Its stand showcased its full range of products and services, including commercial aircraft, helicopters, defense, and space markets. Some important remarks are an A330neo widebody aircraft, an A400M military airlifter, an H145M full-scale mock-up, an exclusive ACH130 Aston Martin helicopter, and SAF. The takeoff of the Airbus A350-1000 with SAF at the Singapore Airshow has underscored the OEM's attention to their campaign to promote SAF.


Airbus showed refueling on February 18 at Changi Airport (SIN) in Singapore. They pumped 12.8 tons (11.6 metric tons) of a 35% blend of SAF and conventional jet-A fuel into the widebody. With the addition of the fuel, the A350 contained 21.8 tons (19.8 metric tons) of SAF, which would accommodate the aircraft through demonstrations and displays throughout the week.


Another view of SAF being delivered to the A350-1000 | Photo: Airbus


Shell Aviation supplied the SAF under the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification EU requirements and provided through the pathway of hydro-processed esters and fatty acids synthetic paraffinic kerosene (HEFA-SPK). The pathway utilizes feedstock from cooking oil and grease.




This demonstration helps Airbus showcase its commitment to 100% SAF adoption. Helene Burger, Airbus' Head of International Cooperation and Sustainability for the Asia-Pacific, said: "Airbus is committed to supporting and developing the SAF ecosystem, and this is part of what we are doing," 


To highlight its passion for showcasing environmentally friendly products, the A350-1000 flew from its headquarters in Toulouse, France, to Singapore using 90 tonnes of fuel with a SAF blend. Burger mentioned that the current availability of SAF represents a small percentage of what the industry and future operations will require. Every branch of the aviation industry should portray SAF's importance while explaining the product's safety measures.


An A350-1000 in the sky | Photo: Airbus


Testing is crucial for the successful implementation of SAF in flight operations. Airbus helicopters fueled by SAF are taking test flights and training in Marignane, France, and Donauwörth, Germany, and they have also conducted a demo flight at the Paris Air Show 2023 with an H160. In March 2023, the second test flight of VOLCAN happened, where an A321neo powered by 100% SAF was analyzed for residual emissions.


The A321XLR passenger test flight took place on October 2023, with only Airbus employees onboard for an extremely long-range single-aisle aircraft while flying with 30% SAF. Besides the airshow displays, Airbus has already begun to motivate its customers to transition to SAF by delivering its plane with a 5% SAF blend without any additional charge. According to an Airbus spokeswoman, Airbus will also return to their headquarters in Toulouse with SAF used for the aircraft after the airshow, depending on availability.



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Öyküm Gelen
Hey there, I'm Öyküm Gelen, and I'm all about weaving stories that take you to new places. Writing is my jam, and each sentence is like a little journey on its own. But there's more to me than just words; I'm also fascinated by airplanes. Whether I'm exploring the skies in my writing or geeking out about aviation, I can't get enough of it. And guess what? I'm not just about words and wings – I'm knee-deep in the world of architecture studies. Designing structures that stand tall is my other passion. So, in the mix of storytelling, aviation dreams, and architecture plans, I'm Öyküm, bringing a blend of creativity and curiosity to the table.

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