In February 2021, KLM flew the first Boeing 737 passenger plane from Amsterdam to Madrid, fueled with synthetic kerosene mixed with standard jet fuel.
The following year in July 2022, American Airlines announced a deal with biofuel company Gevo, Inc. to purchase 500 million gallons of SAF over five years, as part of the airline’s goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. American Airlines is the only US airline to use more than one million gallons of SAF in 2021.
In the same month, Alaska Airlines signed a deal with Twelve and Microsoft to create sustainable fuels using carbon captured from water, air and renewable energy. Alaska Airlines has been using SAF blends since 2011 on some routes.
Airbus is testing hydrogen combustion technology with its A380s as part of its goal to achieve zero emissions.
In September 2022, Delta Airlines signed the largest US deal on record for green hydrogen-produced fuels with DG Fuels. The company put the challenge of sustainable flights into perspective by saying that the current global SAF supply could only operate Delta’s fleet for one day.
But it’s getting a helping hand. In September, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the US boosted tax credits for SAF that should help lower the cost of SAF. It’s hoped this will encourage a shift towards SAF and start weaning the industry off traditional jet fuel.
But what if we didn’t need fuel at all?
Read more: The sustainable benefits of traveling in the off-season