Etihad makes longest flight on SAF 50% blend

A major milestone in reducing aviation carbon emissions was achieved this fall with Etihad Airways operating the longest flight to ever use a blend of 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and regular jet fuel, totaling 22,000 U.S. gallons. The flight on Etihad’s newest Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, which completed its flight testing as part of Boeing’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator program, from North Charleston, South Carolina, to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, saved approximately 132,000 pounds of carbon emissions. The SAF used on the flight was part of the largest batch of 50% blend SAF ever produced for commercial aviation, proving the viability of producing a commercial 50% blend of sustainable aviation fuel at a high volume.

“We consider it an honor to be part of this historic event and collaboration to make flying more sustainable,” said Marius Ronge, president of EPIC Fuels and Signature Select. “Aviation is primed and ready to tap into the benefits of SAF. This flight proves we can scale commercial volumes of sustainable fuel at increasingly competitive prices.”

Boeing has led efforts to develop SAF since before the first test flight on a commercial airliner in 2008. Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of the UAE, has long been an industry leader for sustainable skies and is aligned with Boeing in a shared commitment to minimize aviation’s impact on the environment. In 2010, they jointly founded the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium near Abu Dhabi. In January 2020, Etihad took delivery of its Boeing 787-10 ‘Greenliner’ aircraft in a signature-green livery using a 30% SAF fuel mix.

Blue Sky Opportunity to Cut CO2 Emissions

EPIC Fuels has served as an industry partner to Boeing for decades. It used its unparalleled fuel-handling knowledge and nationwide assets and resources to support Etihad and World Energy-produced sustainable fuel from a wide variety of certified feedstocks blended with traditional jet fuel to create a 50/50 commercial blend, which was used by Etihad and Boeing during the 2020 ecoDemonstrator 787-10 flight testing and during Etihad’s delivery flight to Abu Dhabi. World Energy and EPIC collaborated closely on the blend’s production, using World Energy’s refinery in Paramount, California. The SAF fuel was rigorously tested and met both ASTM 1655 jet-fuel standards and ASTM 7566 SAF requirements. The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials certified that the renewable portion of the fuel would reduce carbon emissions more than 75% over its life cycle.

Boeing selected EPIC, a pioneer in mastering SAF logistics and upholding the highest standards of technical compliance, to deliver 22,000 gallons of drop-in, ready-to-use 50% SAF blend for Etihad’s delivery flight to Abu Dhabi. EPIC used intermodal transportation to reduce carbon emissions during shipment and leveraged its proprietary rail-offloading filtration system to ensure the quality of the fuel. Testing on delivery proved no contamination or degradation of the fuel during transit. World Energy manufacturing documents were provided to Boeing upon fuel delivery and all met both FAA and Etihad regulators’ scrutiny.

A History of SAF Innovation

EPIC Fuels has been instrumental in providing fuel, logistics, blending, testing and certification processes for various SAF fuel pathways over the years, having supported SAF test operations and revenue flights for Boeing, the FAA and commercial airlines since 2012.

“Our focus on environmental stewardship and safety is well known in the industry,” says Ronge, “and drives collaborations such as this with Etihad, Boeing and World Energy. Working together, we can make our skies eco-friendlier.”