United Airlines just became the first airline in history to operate a passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel

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United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

  • United Airlines operated the world’s first passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel.

  • The aircraft carried over 100 passengers from Chicago to Washington DC with United’s CEO onboard.

  • United has invested millions into SAF, as well as other projects to reduce its carbon footprint.

United Airlines has become a global leader in reducing the aviation industry’s carbon footprint. In 2016, the carrier became the world’s first airline to continuously use sustainable aviation fuel in its regular operation, mixing it with conventional jet fuel in the same engine.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use SAF.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use SAF.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

Since then, the carrier has committed to the use of SAF, having purchased nearly double the known amount that worldwide carriers have bought combined. Now, after five years of investments and preparation, United is ready to make history again.

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737-900 aircraft livery.

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737-900 aircraft livery.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

On Wednesday, the carrier operated the aviation industry’s first-ever passenger flight using 100% non-petroleum-based SAF. The flight flew from Chicago O’Hare to Washington D.C. carrying over 100 travelers, including United CEO Scott Kirby. The fuel was supplied by World Energy, North America’s only commercial biofuel producer.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

The flight operated with one of United’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets with 500 gallons of The SAF in one engine and 500 gallons of traditional jet fuel in the other. SAF is drop-in ready, meaning it can mix with conventional fuel or be used on its own, and is compatible with other aircraft fleets.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

According to United, airlines are only allowed to use a maximum of 50% of SAF onboard aircraft, but Wednesday’s demonstration flight is intended to show there are no operational differences between SAF and conventional jet fuel.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

“Today’s SAF flight is not only a significant milestone for efforts to decarbonize our industry, but when combined with the surge in commitments to produce and purchase alternative fuels, we’re demonstrating the scalable and impactful way companies can join together and play a role in addressing the biggest challenge of our lifetimes,” Kirby said.

FILE PHOTO: United Airlines president Scott Kirby speaks at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.Reuters

Source: United Airlines

“When we fly, we connect, and our demand for the connections aviation makes possible are only going to grow,” World Energy CEO Gene Gebolys said. “But we need to develop affordable, high energy density, low-carbon liquid fuels at scale everywhere to allow those connections to be made sustainably.”

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

For future flights, the airline has purchased 1.5 billion gallons of SAF from Alder Fuels, which is enough to fly 57 million passengers. United also has the option to buy up to 900 million gallons of SAF from Fulcrum BioEnergy, which it has already invested $30 million into.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines, Fulcrum BioEnergy

United’s SAF investment is not the only effort it has made to battle climate change. In 2018, United became the first US carrier to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, though it has upped the goal to 100%.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

Then, in 2019, it operated “Flight for the Planet,” which was the “most-eco-friendly commercial flight of its kind in the history of commercial aviation.”

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.

United Airlines is the first airline in the world to use 100% SAF on a passenger flight.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

In February 2021, United announced it would partner with Archer Aviation to help develop the latter’s electric aircraft, which has the potential to operate as an air taxi to shuttle United customers.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

Archer Aviation electric aircraft.Archer Aviation

Source: United Airlines, How 2 startup founders with no aviation experience landed a $1 billion deal to make electric aircraft for United

In addition to Archer, United has also agreed to work with Heart Aerospace to develop a net-zero, 19-seat electric aircraft to ferry passengers on regional routes.

United Airlines and Heart Aerospace partner to develop an electric aircraft.

United Airlines and Heart Aerospace partner to develop an electric aircraft.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

In June 2021, the airline announced its investment in Boom’s “Overture” airliner, a zero-emission supersonic jet that would use 100% SAF. It is expected to begin carrying passengers in 2029.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines

A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.Boom Supersonic

Source: United Airlines, United placed a $3 billion order for 15 supersonic jets. Meet Boom Supersonic’s Overture

United’s efforts will decrease its carbon footprint and help it meet its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050 without the need for carbon offsets.

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737-900 aircraft livery.

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737-900 aircraft livery.United Airlines

Source: United Airlines

Read the original article on Business Insider

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