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IndiGo’s first sustainable aviation fuel flight lands in Delhi; all you need to know about the green fuel

IndiGo’s first sustainable aviation fuel flight lands in Delhi; all you need to know about the green fuel

IndiGo’s first sustainable aviation fuel flight lands in Delhi; all you need to know about the green fuel
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By CNBCTV18.com Feb 18, 2022 12:58:36 PM IST (Published)

IndiGo said it had today completed its first flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF is produced using feedstock and other sources like used cooking oil and animal waste fat, and potential sources include solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps. According to IATA, SAF is the "fuel that has the potential to generate lower carbon emissions than conventional kerosene on a life cycle basis".

IndiGo today completed its first-ever flight which was flying using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The country’s biggest domestic airline, with 53.5 percent domestic market share as of October 2021, posted an image of the aeroplane on Twitter.

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“Fasten your seatbelts, ‘cause we’re ready to go green. Are you?” the company had tweeted. The flight, taking off from Toulouse, France, had landed in New Delhi at 11:08 am.
The use of SAF by IndiGo points to the fact that airlines are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their carbon emissions. Aviation contributes 2 percent of all carbon emissions produced annually, and 12 percent of all CO2 emissions produced by the transportation sector as a whole. Aircraft on average produced 90 g CO2 per RPK (revenue passenger kilometre) in 2019, according to studies from the International Council on Clean Transportation
What is sustainable aviation fuel?
Modern jet aircraft need fuel with a lot of energy density to send tens of thousands of kilograms flying into the air over long distances. Modern jet fuel is a varying combination of hydrocarbons by using fossil fuel and is responsible for producing the majority of emissions from a flight.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel or SAF is produced using feedstock and other sources like used cooking oil and animal waste fat, and potential sources include solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps. SAF has similar chemistry to jet fuel and thus, is a viable alternative to using jet fuel in commercial flights. The use of SAF can reduce carbon emissions of a flight by up to 80 percent by some estimates, and can be an important stopgap until completely carbon-free fuel sources are developed for the sector.
Currently, SAF can cost up to 8X times as much as normal aviation fuel due to lack of production at scale. As production of SAF increases, its price will decrease. But due to the current disparity in prices, flights that use SAF are rare.
Emerging partnerships
To combat the issue of low-scale of production, IndiGo had entered into a partnership with Dehradun-based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIRIIP) in December 2021, to produce SAF for the airline globally.
The airline had earlier in the year also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an international SAF provider, whose name it did not provide.
While commercial utilisation of SAF still remains years away, the transition towards cleaner fuels will be heralded by the actions of large airlines which promote and use SAF so that manufacturers can ramp up production.
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