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JAL conducts first flight with two domestically produced SAF types

Japan Airlines Co. Ltd (JAL) has conducted the very first flight fuelled with two different types of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced domestically in Japan and loaded at the same time. On June 17, 2021, flight JL515 from Tokyo (Haneda - HND) to Sapporo (Shin-Chitose – CTS), was fuelled with a 9.1 percent blend of SAF produced by Mitsubishi Power Ltd/Toyo Engineering Corporation/JERA Co., Inc., and by IHI Corporation. The former is derived from woodchips and the latter from algae.

On June 17, 2021, Japan Airlines Co. Ltd (JAL) conducted the very first flight fuelled with two different types of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced domestically in Japan and loaded at the same time (photo courtesy JAL).

The flight, on an Airbus 350 aircraft, was conducted as part of the “Development of Production Technologies for Biojet Fuels” program of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a Japanese national research and development agency.

It marks the “success” of the domestic SAF project, and the first step towards commercialization of domestically produced SAF by 2030, as the SAF produced at the demonstration plants has passed the quality inspection and became available for use in actual flights.

A total of 3 132 litres of SAF from two sources was used on the flight representing a 9.1 percent blending ratio. The SAF was produced domestically in demonstration plants in Japan by Mitsubishi Power Ltd/Toyo Engineering Corporation/JERA Co., Inc. using woodchips, and by IHI Corporation using algae.

SAF implementation

The flight is the second demonstration flight this year by the airline using domestically produced SAF. As part of its overall goal to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050, JAL Group is aiming for SAF to reach 10 percent of the total fuel amount by 2030. Specifically, JAL intends to use SAF on flights departing from North America in cooperation with Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., an American company in which it has an investment stake.

In addition, since most of the fuel used by the JAL Group is refueled in Japan, the establishment of a domestic SAF production system is also important, and JAL is conducting a feasibility study with domestic companies on manufacturing and selling SAF in Japan derived from waste plastic.

Signage at the gate outlining details of the two sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) sources used on the flight (photo courtesy JAL).

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