Munich Airport is to begin offering airlines Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) from the start of June. Such fuels can be introduced to the existing fuel infrastructure and help to reduce the long-term carbon impact of the flights on which they are burned.
Despite the current crisis facing the aviation industry, the sustainability of it remains a key focus. Globally, aviation is responsible for around 3% of CO2 emissions. As an industry, key players are looking to proactively cut their emissions while also increasing their sustainability. SAFs are a crucial part of this objective moving forward.
Munich Airport to implement SAFs
In just 26 days, Munich Airport is due to begin offering Sustainable Aviation Fuels. From this date, SAFs can be delivered to the airport, providing that they meet the Jet-A1 fuel specifications. This point is crucial, as it means that it can be mixed into the existing fuel infrastructure.
Meeting the Jet-A1 fuel standards means that the fuels can be used in the aircraft without any modifications. As far as an aircraft engine is concerned, it shouldn’t know the difference between fossil fuel kerosene and its renewable cousin.
As such, it appears that Munich will blend its SAFs into the fuel supply, meaning that airlines won’t know they’re using it. Ultimately, Munich Airport aims to be net-carbon-zero by 2050, along with other significant players in the aviation industry.
The same amount of emissions
SAFs release the same amount of CO2 when burned by a jet engine, so you may be wondering why they’re better for the environment than traditional fossil fuels. The key difference comes from how the fuel is made. When fossil fuels are burned, carbon previously locked up in the earth is being added to the globe’s carbon cycle.
SAFs are different. As they are made from plants, they don’t introduce new CO2 into the atmosphere. While growing, the plants absorb CO2. As such, when they’re burned, they aren’t releasing any brand new carbon into the atmosphere.
Commenting on the roll-out, Jost Lammers, CEO of Munich Airport, said,
“By approving our refuelling facilities for Sustainable Aviation Fuel, we are enabling airlines to reduce their CO2 emissions on flights from Munich by using sustainable aviation fuels… We expect the share of these sustainable fuels in total energy consumption in aviation to increase continuously in the coming years.”
Has the barrier to SAFs been busted?
Traditionally the main barrier to sustainable aviation fuels has been the cost. As they are made in small quantities, they cost a lot. As they cost a lot, they are unpopular. As they are undesirable, they are made in smaller amounts.
This has thus far created a vicious cycle stopping the fuels from becoming mainstream, despite their environmental benefits. Now, the industry is bringing to grasp the fuels’ importance in its future. Several key players have recently committed to increasing their usage of SAFs, to try and bring the cost down for everybody. The more airlines get involved, the more attractive SAFs will become in the future.
Are you excited to see Munich Airport rolling out SAFs? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!