In a ‘breakthrough moment’ for aviation, the Royal Air Force (RAF) has successfully tested the UK’s first flight using 100% sustainable fuel.
The RAF Voyager – the military equivalent of the Airbus A330 – flew over Oxfordshire using waste fuel, including used cooking oil.
Sustainable aviation fuel, known as SAF, has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 80%, according to the RAF.
It is hoped that their use will promote Royal Air Force Move closer to its net-zero emissions target by 2040 while reducing reliance on global supply chains.
The voyage is not only the UK’s first, but the world’s first to use fully sustainable fuel for a military aircraft of its size.
Defense Secretary Baroness Goldie described it as a “breakthrough moment” for the RAF.
She said: “Through the RAF’s pioneering spirit, expertise and collaboration with UK industry, UK science and engineering is leading the way in improving operational resilience and developing future operational capabilities in a climate-changing world.
“They should be proud of this achievement – this is a breakthrough moment for the RAF and an exciting development for the Ministry of Defense (MoD).”
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Flight Lieutenant Nick Dehnel from the Royal Air Force collaborated with Carlos M San Millan and Pedro Martin from Airbus to engineer the feat.
It is the world’s first successful flight of a small aircraft powered by synthetic fuel, following a 90-minute flight from RAF Brize Norton last November.
Synthetic fuels are made from water and carbon dioxide, and are put under pressure and passed through with an electric current.
Air Marshal Sir Mike Wigston described the flight as another “significant milestone” towards becoming the world’s first net-zero air force by 2040.
Baroness Vere, aviation secretary at the Department for Transport (DfT), said the success of the test flight was “a victory for the planet and a testament to British ingenuity”.
She added that the UK’s Department for Transport had launched a £165m fund aimed at boosting the sustainable fuel industry towards the first net-zero transatlantic flight next year.