Boeing, one of the world’s largest commercial airplane producers, is setting an ambitious target to advance the long-term sustainability of commercial aviation, committing that its commercial airplanes would be capable to fly on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels by 2030.
“Our industry and customers are committed to addressing climate change, and sustainable aviation fuels are the safest and most measurable solution to reduce aviation carbon emissions in the coming decades,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal in a report carried on Boeing’s official website.
“We’re committed to working with regulators, engine companies and other key stakeholders to ensure our airplanes and eventually our industry can fly entirely on sustainable jet fuels,” Deal added. Boeing said it had already conducted successful test flights replacing petroleum jet fuel with 100 percent sustainable fuels to address the urgent challenge of climate change.
Sustainable aviation fuels can be made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including vegetable oils such as palm oil and soy bean or various non-edible plants, animal oils and fats, agricultural and forestry waste, non-recyclable household waste, industrial plant off-gassing and other sources. Sustainability of the fuels is assured through strong, credible sustainability certifications through third-party organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.
According to the Air Transport Action Group, U.S. Department of Energy and several other scientific studies, sustainable aviation fuels reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent over the fuel’s life cycle with the potential to reach 100 percent in the future. At present the maximum allowed mixture of conventional jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel, under current fuel specification stood at a 50/50 blend.
Boeing’s commitment is to determine what changes are required for its current and future commercial airplanes to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels, and to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the blending limit for expanded use.
“With a long history of innovation in sustainable aviation fuels, certifying our family of airplanes to fly on 100 percent sustainable fuels significantly advances Boeing’s deep commitment to innovate and operate to make the world better,” Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond said in the same report. “Sustainable aviation fuels are proven, used every day, and have the most immediate and greatest potential to reduce carbon emissions in the near and long term when we work together as an industry.”
Boeing has been a pioneer in making sustainable aviation fuels a reality, partnering globally with airlines, industry, governments and research institutions to expand limited supplies and reduce the fuels’ cost. It has started biofuel test flights in 2008 and has gained approval for sustainable fuels in 2011. In 2018, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flight-test program made the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100 percent sustainable fuels with a 777 Freighter, in collaboration with FedEx Express.