June 7, 2024

Study: SAF Reduces Aircraft Contrails, Soot Particle Emissions

When compared to jet-A-1 fuel, SAF significantly reduces the climate-warming effect of condensation trails, according to the findings.

The use of 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in commercial airliners may reduce the impact of contrails in addition to reducing the aircraft’s carbon footprint, according to a new study.

The “Emission and Climate Impact of Alternative Fuels,” or ECLIF3 study, was conducted through a collaboration with Airbus, Rolls-Royce, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and SAF producer Neste.

Recent test flights of an Airbus A350 and DLR Falcon utilizing 100 percent SAF “show a significant reduction in soot particle emissions and formation of contrail ice crystals compared to using conventional aviation fuel,” Neste said.

The study found that when compared to a reference jet–1 fuel, the number of ice crystals per mass of unblended SAF consumed was reduced by 56 percent, which, the company said, could significantly reduce the climate-warming effect of condensation trails—also known as contrails.

“The results from the ECLIF3 flight experiments show how the use of 100 percent SAF can help us to significantly reduce the climate-warming effect of contrails,” said Markus Fischer, DLR divisional board member for aeronautics.

Meg Godlewski, Flying Mag

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