Brazilian planemaker Embraer has revealed that it aims to operate a flight with its latest generation E2 aircraft on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAFs) next year. The manufacturer is partnering with Pratt & Whitney to achieve the feat, becoming one in a growing number of OEMs looking to SAFs as an interim solution to reducing aviation’s net carbon emissions.
While not a definitive solution to aviation emissions, SAFs are being seen as a solid interim solution to the problem. Earlier this year, for example, Sean Doyle (CEO of British Airways) said that true zero-carbon solutions wouldn’t be around for the next 30 years, with SAFs needed to plug the gap.
Embraer Eyes SAF Flights
Today, Embraer revealed that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Pratt & Whitney regarding testing 100% SAF fuels on its E195-E2 aircraft. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, so having the engine maker onboard will be a massive boon for the tests.
Aircraft can only fly on a maximum of a 50/50 blend of sustainable fuels and traditional fossil fuels right now. While this does mean that less new carbon is being added to the atmosphere, it doesn’t stop net emissions entirely. In theory, a 100% blend of sustainable aviation fuels could only use recycled carbon extracted from the atmosphere, thus not adding any new carbon emissions.
Commenting on the MOU, Arjan Meijer, President, and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation, said,
“Embraer has a recognized track record of innovation in sustainable fuels, which includes the industry’s first certified ethanol-powered aircraft in 2004, and collaboration is an essential pre-requisite for our industry to achieve our environmental goals.”
A fuel-efficient aircraft anyway
The Embraer E195-E2 has already helped in the fight against emissions. The jet has a 24% fuel efficiency increase on the first-generation E195. This is something that even surpassed the expectations of Embraer during the aircraft’s initial testing phase. In addition to the low emissions, the E195-E2 is also an incredibly quiet aircraft, saving on noise-related costs for airlines.
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Not just Embraer seeking 100% SAFs
It’s not just Embraer that is seeking to run aircraft on 100% SAFs. Earlier today, Simple Flying reported that Airbus was already running A350 test flights with such a blend. According to the planemaker, Sustainable Aviation Fuels also have other benefits. They have a lower density than fossil fuels, meaning that they weigh less. However, each kilogram of fuel has a higher energy content, meaning that such fuels are doubly better than fossil fuels.
While Rolls-Royce is working on the Airbus A350 project with Airbus, it is also undertaking its own research too. The widebody engine maker is attempting to certify its entire Trent engine lineup on SAFs by 2023. This meant running a Boeing 787 engine on a Boeing 747 engine testbed with such a blend.
What do you make of Embraer’s 100% SAF goals? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!