Heathrow Airport has taken the first steps toward reducing its carbon emissions today, 3 June, by introducing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into its main fuel supply. It will be blended to use across flights operating from the airport over the next few days.
In a statement, Heathrow acknowledged that “whilst the fuel supply may be comparatively small – equivalent to fuelling 5-10 short haul flights – this commercial delivery will establish proof of concept at the UK’s largest airport.
“Achieving this milestone is a critical first step in demonstrating to Government that the technology will work in reducing carbon from aviation so long as the correct policy framework to incentivise take up at scale is achieved.”
Heathrow has partnered with Vitol Aviation and Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel to deliver the SAF, which is produced 100 per cent from renewable and sustainable waste and residue raw materials, such as used cooking oil and animal and fish fat waste.
It also claims that using SAF “in its neat form and over the life cycle” will reduce up to 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions up compared to fossil jet fuel use.
Heathrow Chief Executive Officer, John Holland-Kaye said: “We are delighted that Heathrow is the first UK major airport to successfully incorporate sustainable aviation fuels into its operation.
“As we get ready to welcome the world to the G7, we can demonstrate how this technology can significantly cut carbon from aviation, whilst protecting its benefits.
The UK Government now has an opportunity to create a new British growth industry by backing sustainable aviation fuel production and also be leaders in the race to a net zero 2050.
“Now is the time for less talk and more action and Ministers should set an escalating mandate to blend SAF into fuel and provide incentives that are stable over 5-10 years to foster investment in production, with a target of 10 per cent by 2030 and at least 50 per cent by 2050.”
Other airports, including those in Ireland, will be observing Heathrow’s efforts with interest; expect similar announcements from Irish airports concerning the use of SAF in the near future – all with a view of achieving net zero aviation in line with the Paris Agreement.