Dubai Airshow ready for take-off with SAF taking centre stage
The event kicks-off next month and the growing influence of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in driving down emissions will be showcased.
The industries have taken bold steps towards decarbonisation with innovation accelerating at an exponential rate.
As the event leads up to the United Nation’s annual global climate change conference, COP28, which is also taking place in Dubai towards the end of the year, industry stakeholders will take the opportunity to showcase their latest solutions towards net-zero emissions, discuss collaborations and gain new insights.
The aviation industry contributes approximately 2% to 3% of all global carbon emissions, but with a constant increase in passenger demand, this could rise to 25% to 30% by 2050 if no actions are taken, according to a new report by Frost & Sullivan titled Sustainable Technologies in Aviation, which raises the urgency on manufacturers, airlines and airport operators to undertake sustainability initiatives.
Additionally, global production capacity for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) needs to exceed 30 billion litres by 2030 and 450 billion litres by 2050 for airlines to be able to achieve net-zero targets. In 2020, SAF production was just 450 million litres, according to IATA, which is less than 0.05% of the global demand of jet fuel.
However, several initiatives are already underway in the Middle East region. Recently, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) signed an agreement with Airbus, to support the development and growth of the global SAF market. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways signed a deal with Shell to source 3,000 metric tonnes of neat SAF at Amsterdam Schiphol airport, making it the first carrier in the Middle East and Africa to procure a large SAF amount in Europe, beyond government SAF mandates.
Globally, Shell Aviation has signed several other agreements to provide airlines including JetBlue and Japan Airlines (JAL) with SAF, and Air bp, the specialised aviation division of multinational oil and gas company BP, has announced the first sale of SAF from its Castellon refinery in Spain, marking another important milestone at it works towards making SAF more available.
Earlier this year, Emirates successfully completed a demonstration flight powered by 100 per cent SAF on a Boeing 777-300ER, as part of its plans to help the global aviation industry meet carbon emission targets. The airline has also earmarked $200 million to fund R&D on advanced fuel technologies that can reduce commercial aviation's environmental impact.
Exhibitors at the Airshow are set to showcase their latest technologies and innovations that will help advance the industry towards achieving global net zero emissions targets.
Mikail Houari, President, Africa and Middle East at Airbus, commented: “At Airbus, we continue to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to leading the decarbonisation journey in the aerospace industry through our pioneering role in developing disruptive technologies.”
Separately, Honeywell has launched a new technology called UOP eFining™ that produces lower-carbon aviation fuel from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide captured from industry.
Mohammed Mohaisen, president and CEO, Honeywell Middle East and North Africa, said: “Sustainable Aviation Fuel represents a ready now opportunity to drive the sustainable growth of the aviation industry, yet it is still barely tapped into. Technologies that can harness readily abundant CO2 to produce SAF are transformational in terms of how we fuel aircraft, and will play an important role in the long-term decarbonisation of the sector.”
Dubai Airshow will be held from 13-17 November at the Dubai World Central (DWC).