Emirates completes engine ground testing with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

©Emirates

Emirates has successfully completed the ground engine testing for one of its GE90 engines on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The objective of the ground testing and analysis is to demonstrate the capability of the GE90 engine to run on the specially blended 100% SAF without affecting its performance, requiring no modifications to the aircraft systems, or special maintenance procedures on the Boeing 777-300ER or GE90 engine to operate. SAF reduces carbon emissions over the fuel’s life cycle by up to 80%.

The ground test results will now pave the way for the airline’s first experimental test flight using 100% SAF in one engine, which is due for take-off this week. The testing activities involved running one engine on 100% SAF and the other on conventional jet fuel to better analyse the fuel system´s behaviour and performance under each fuel type, compare specific outputs of each engine and ensure seamless operation of the aircraft’s engine and airframe fuel systems during the planned test flight.

Emirates has been working with its partners GE Aerospace, Boeing, Honeywell, Neste and Virent  Inc., a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corp throughout 2022 on SAF fuel-blend testing. The partners have developed a blend with the same qualities and performance characteristics of conventional jet fuel and have collaborated on the technical analysis and operational requirements surrounding ground testing and experimental flight activities. The results of this initiative will provide additional data and research around synthetic fuel blend components and biofuels, supporting standardization and future approval of 100% drop-in SAF. Following the successful trial on one engine, Emirates will then continue to develop these initiatives with the engine airframe manufacturers as well as SAF providers with the goal of certifying these blends for commercial use. Currently, SAF is approved for use in blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel.

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