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Future Flight: Gulfstream G600 Achieves Transatlantic First on 100% Sustainable Fuel

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Pratt & Whitney PW800 Engine. (Image credit: Pratt & Whitney)

Advancing Sustainable Aviation: A Transatlantic Triumph

In a significant stride toward eco-friendly aviation, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation achieved a milestone by conducting a transatlantic flight fueled entirely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The Gulfstream G600 business jet, equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PW800 series engines exclusively adapted for SAF operation, showcased their compatibility with 100 percent SAF integration.

This accomplishment is a pivotal contribution toward the aviation industry’s aspirations for achieving net-zero CO2 emissions in the decades ahead. Anthony Rossi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Pratt & Whitney Canada, highlighted the potential benefits of obtaining future operational approval for 100 percent SAF, enhancing the versatility, reliability, and fuel efficiency of the PW815GA engine.

Test Flight and Collaborative Efforts

The transatlantic test flight on November 19 saw the Gulfstream G600 jet depart from Savannah, Georgia, and land in Farnborough, United Kingdom. Both aircraft engines were powered by 100 percent hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids (neat HEFA), known for producing at least 70 percent fewer CO2 emissions over its lifecycle than conventional fossil fuel. The SAF used in the flight was produced by World Energy and supplied by World Fuel Services, underscoring collaborative efforts.

Gulfstream’s decade-long collaboration with Pratt & Whitney Canada has played a pivotal role in propelling aviation technology forward. The G600 jet, which entered service in 2019, is equipped with a pair of PW815GA engines. The PW800 engine family, a mainstay in the business jet category with over 330,000 flying hours, is poised to contribute significantly to sustainable aviation through the transition to 100 percent SAF fuel.

The Role of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs)

Derived from non-fossil-based feedstocks, SAFs offer a means to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of aircraft operations. Produced using sustainable feedstocks like plant oils and municipal waste, SAFs have the potential to decrease carbon emissions by up to 80 percent throughout their lifecycle compared to traditional jet fuel.

Additionally, SAFs provide a “drop-in” solution requiring no additional investment in fuel infrastructure or modifications to existing aircraft. With an estimated 47,000 aircraft anticipated in the global commercial fleet by 2030, SAF emerges as a direct and practical means to decrease the aviation industry’s carbon footprint.

Challenges and Urgency for Scale-Up

However, the companies acknowledge the urgent need for the aviation sector to swiftly scale up SAF production to meet the demand mandated by net-zero roadmaps, presenting a formidable challenge. Effective collaboration between governments and businesses is essential to bridge this gap, encouraging investments in production infrastructure and enhancing the profitability of SAF for operators, according to Pratt & Whitney.

The firm estimates that a substantial investment ranging from $1.1 to $1.4 trillion in SAF production infrastructure is required to attain net-zero targets by 2050. In 2019, only a minimal 0.01 percent of jet fuel demand was met by SAF, underscoring the critical need to promptly address this aspect of sustainable aviation.

References
Malayil, Jijo 2023, Jet powered by PW800 engines wraps transatlantic trip using 100% SAF, Interesting Enigneering, viewed 28th November 2023, https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/jet-powered-pw800-engines-transatlantic   

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