Emirates Commits $200 Million Toward Sustainable Aviation

by | May 15, 2023

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With airlines trying to meet sustainability (and eventually net-zero) goals, many are allocating funds for sustainability and carbon impact reductions. Emirates Airline has announced it will reserve $200 million to fund research and development projects focused on sustainability and reducing fossil fuel impacts in commercial aviation.

(Credit: Canva)

Emirates will fund $200 million in research and development projects focused on sustainability and reducing fossil fuel impacts in commercial aviation.

The funds will be distributed over three years, and this is the largest single commitment to sustainability by any airline, according to Emirates.

The company’s Environmental Sustainability Executive Steering Group will oversee the fund’s disbursements with support from other experts. The airline will partner with organizations working on solutions in fuel and energy technologies.

Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said with current technologies available for airlines in terms of emission reduction, the industry won’t be able to reach net zero targets as desired. Engine technology, the fuel supply chain, and the industry’s regulatory and ecosystem requirements are some things that have been considered.

Emirates will continue to implement environmentally conscious practices until viable solutions can be found, Clark said.  These include uplifting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) when possible, ensuring efficient fleet operations, and bringing modern aircraft to the airline.

Money from the $200 million fund will not be used for the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel or carbon offsets for regulatory purposes, as those are considered normal operating costs, according to the company.

The airline’s environmental policy and strategy focuses on reducing emissions, responsible consumption, and preservation of wildlife and habitats. It currently has a fuel efficiency program that implements ways to reduce fuel burn and emissions. Some of Emirates’ commonly used initiatives include creating efficient flight plans to take advantage of tailwinds, using ground power units instead of the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit, and switching an engine or two off – the last two are used while taxiing in after landing.

SAF is a primary focus of the airline industry to help meet sustainability goals. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, sustainable aviation fuel is biofuel created from renewable biomass and waste, similar to conventional jet fuel but with less carbon footprint. Many global aviation partners have committed to purchase over one billion gallons of Airmade SAF made by Air Company, a carbon technology company that turns carbon dioxide into fuels and carbon-negative alcohols.

Emirates powered an engine with 100% sustainable aviation fuel earlier this year with a flight lasting over an hour, supporting industry efforts to eventually use 100% SAF in the future. The International Air Transport Association estimates that SAF could contribute to around 65% of the necessary reductions in emissions for airlines to reach net zero in 2050, but an increase in the production of the clean fuel is needed to meet this demand.

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