Boeing sets ambitious eco targets

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January 23, 2021
Boeing
FedEx 777F flying on 100% sustainable fuel

Boeing is setting an ambitious target to advance the long-term sustainability of commercial aviation, committing that its commercial airplanes are capable and certified to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030.

Previously the giant aerospace company has conducted successful test flights replacing petroleum jet fuel with 100% sustainable fuels to address the urgent challenge of climate change.

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% over the fuel’s life cycle with the potential to reach 100% in the future.

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At the moment sustainable aviation fuels are mixed directly with conventional jet fuel up to a 50/50 blend — the maximum allowed under current fuel specifications. In order to meet aviation’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2050, airplanes need the capability to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels well before 2050. 

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal said: “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.

“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.”

Boeing’ said its commitment is to determine what changes are required for its current and future commercial airplanes to fly on 100% sustainable fuels, and to work with regulatory authorities and across the industry to raise the blending limit for expanded use.

Boeing’s Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond said “with a long history of innovation in sustainable aviation fuels, certifying our family of airplanes to fly on 100% sustainable fuels significantly advances Boeing’s deep commitment to innovate and operate to make the world better.

“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 since 2008.

In 2018, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flight-test program made the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% sustainable fuels with a 777 Freighter, in collaboration with FedEx Express.

Sustainable aviation fuels can be made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including non-edible plants, 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.