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Emirates joins The Solent Cluster

Emirates joins The Solent Cluster
The Solent Cluster (photo courtesy Emirates).

UAE-headed air carrier Emirates Airline has become the first international airline to join The Solent Cluster, a UK initiative focused on low carbon investments established to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from industry, transport, and households in the South Coast of England.

The Solent Cluster is a cross-sector collaboration of international organizations, including manufacturers and engineering companies, regional businesses and industries, leading logistics and infrastructure operators, and academic institutions.

Emirates Airline joins over 100 members as part of the Cluster, alongside founding members the Solent Partners (previously the Solent LEP), global energy provider ExxonMobil, and the University of Southampton.

The founding members have each shared details of their vision for the Solent and how it could secure existing jobs and produce low-carbon fuels for a variety of sectors, including aviation.

Sustainable aviation fuel potential

The Solent Cluster has the potential to create a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plant with an estimated annual fuel production capacity of 200,000 tonnes.

If approved, the plant could start operating in 2032. SAF produced by the plant could avoid emissions of 563 kilotons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year by producing fuel with 70 percent less emissions than fossil kerosene.

Existing pipeline networks can supply the SAF from the plant to major airports served by Emirates such as London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and London Gatwick Airport (LGW).

The Solent is recognized as one of the leading contributors to CO2 emissions from energy-intensive manufacturing processes every year. The formation of a decarbonization cluster that spans the public, private, and higher education sectors is a monumental step forward for the region. It will introduce sustainable fuels for local transportation, aviation, and shipping sectors; create low-carbon energy to heat homes, businesses, and public buildings; and open up new highly skilled job opportunities. This can only be achieved by working together as a community, covering all sectors, and ultimately working with the same desire to achieve a low-carbon economic future for the Solent region, said Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Academic Cluster lead for the Solent Industrial Decarbonisation Cluster at the University of Southampton.

Emirates’ long-term aspiration to secure UK-produced SAF with The Solent Cluster is in addition to several SAF initiatives the airline has announced over the last year.

It follows Emirates’ A380 and Boeing 777 demonstration flights using 100 percent SAF in 2023.

Emirates has expanded its partnership with Neste for the supply of SAF in 2024 and 2025 for its operations in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), the Netherlands, and Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), Singapore.

The airline also uplifted SAF for the first time at its hub in Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates (UAE) for commercial flights in October 2023.

Emirates is proud to join like-minded organizations as part of The Solent Cluster Initiative. The Cluster has strong potential to power clean energy innovation and production and is another step forward in our journey towards long-term SAF adoption within our network. Alongside our fellow members, we look forward to contributing towards these efforts, while also seeing The Solent Cluster’s positive impact on the local economy, Southeast region, and wider industries, said Sir Tim Clark President of Emirates Airline.

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