Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) makes up a positive 0.5% of fuel tanked at London Heathrow Airport, thanks to the international airport’s introduction SAF incentive programme last year. 

Setting a green example 

Sustainable aviation fuel has been in the news frequently as of late. In February, Singapore Airlines announced that all of its flights will be fueled with SAF for a year. Turkish Airlines fuels a decent number of its Airbus A350s with sustainably-kind biofuels, recently giving the aircraft that is fueled by biofuels an eye-catching green makeover. 

Currently, sustainable aviation fuel only accounts for approximately 0.1% of global jet fuel consumption. However, production and uptake are both set to increase significantly over the next couple of years as more incentives and mandates come into play and start having a noticeable effect. The SAF market is predicted to grow to $15.7 billion by 2030. 

But now, it seems as if London Heathrow is pushing the UK forward in becoming a leader in the sustainable fuel market. Heathrow is one of six airports that serves London and is also one of the UK’s busiest. Yet the airport has managed to become the largest user of SAF out of any airport across the globe. 

London Heathrow has pledged to continue to improve its incentive programme to encourage more airlines to use sustainable fuels. The airport also continues to seek a UK mandate for 10% SAF by 2030. 

The UK government has already pledged to invest £180 million to develop SAF plants across the country. 

Heathrow Airport
Early 2020 saw Heathrow become carbon neutral in emissions from its airport buildings, infrastructure, business travel and vehicles. Not including emissions released by terminal retailers and flights. | © Sky News

London Heathrow’s revised sustainability plan was announced in February and included plans to replace 90% of kerosene-based jet fuel with SAF by 2050. A more imminent target sees Heathrow reach 11% use of SAF on its aircraft by 2030. 

Elsewhere, the airport encourages sustainability-minded swaps and improvements too. Passengers can pay to offset their CO2 emissions by purchasing SAF, regardless of what airline their flying with and their end destination. 

The programme, powered by Norwegian climate technology company Chooose, allows passengers to calculate their CO2 emissions and choose what percentage to offset using SAF. The SAF itself is provided by Sky NRG, a Netherlands-based pioneer and global leader in sustainable aviation fuel. 

Director of Carbon Strategy at Heathrow Airport, Matt Gorman, spoke about the airport’s attitude towards cutting CO2 emissions and the growing use of SAF:

“We have a real sense of momentum behind reducing carbon emissions from flying – with airlines, airports, fuel companies, investors and governments all coming together to tackle the problem… the more people who talk about and use SAF, the faster we’ll be able to scale up production and cut carbon emissions from flying for good.”

Do you fly from London Heathrow? Are you happy with their efforts in running SAF so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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