UK launches competition to enable flight fueled with 100% SAF

By Erin Voegele | May 16, 2022

The U.K. Department of Transport, in partnership with Innovate U.K., on May 14 launched a competition to support industry to achieve the first net-zero transatlantic flight on a commercial aircraft using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The competition aims to enable the flight before the end of 2023 and is offering up to £1 million ($1.23 million) of funding.

U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the challenge to industry during a visit to the U.S. where he met with airlines executives and invited the international sector to work closely with the U.K. government to deliver the demonstration flight in 2023. The U.K. Department for Transport said such a flight could pave the way for more flights to be fueled with 100 percent SAF.

Current jet fuel specifications do not allow flights to use 100 percent SAF, meaning SAF use needs to be complemented by additional decarbonization measures to be fully net zero, according to the Department for Transport. The U.K. government said it is committed to accelerating the testing and approval of 100 percent SAF to unlock the full decarbonization potential of the technology.

The £1 million in funding will be made available from 2022 to 2023 to support the testing, research and personnel costs of the initiative. Interested airlines, fuel producers, aircraft or engine manufacturers, and fuel suppliers are invited to complete an initial expression of interest (EOI). The deadline to submit an EOI is June 12. Proposals selected during the EOI stage will be eligible to complete for program funding.

Additional information is available on the U.K. Department for Transport website