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LONDON: Virgin Atlantic plans to operate the first flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK on November 28, 2023 with a B787 powered only by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The airline industry is proposing SAF as an eventual replacement of fossil fuel-derived kerosene to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Renewable SAF is produced from algae, synthesised fuels from hydrogen waste, or directly by capturing carbon dioxide.

“We estimate that to reach net zero flying by 2050, a combination of highly-efficient, latest-generation gas turbines such as UltraFan operating on 100 percent SAF are likely to contribute around 80 percent of the total solution,” commented Simon Burr, Rolls Royce group director of Engineering, Technology and Safety.

Rolls Royce has successfully tested the UltraFan at maximum power using only SAF. The international standards body for jet fuel, ASTM International, currently permits using a maximum 50 percent SAF blended with 50 percent kerosene for commercial aviation.

In addition to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Irish Aviation Authority and Transport Canada are expected to approve the test flight supported by the UK Department for Transport, Boeing, University of Sheffield, Imperial College London and Rocky Mountain Institute.
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