Sky’s The Limit: First Passenger Powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Marks New Milestone

Sky’s The Limit: First Passenger Flight Powered by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel Marks New Milestone

Honeywell’s UOP’s EcofiningTM technology powered a United Airlines flight that made aviation history. 

On December 1, United Airlines operated the first 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)-powered flight with passengers onboard. 

The flight took passengers from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

The airplane departed at 1 p.m. CT and arrived at 4 p.m. ET with a 1.8-hour flight time. The flight operated using 100% SAF in the right engine.

Ben Owens, Vice President and General Manager for Sustainable Technology Solutions, was onboard, representing Honeywell as a passenger on the historic flight.

UOP’s Ecofining™ technology powered the production of the SAF used on the December 1 flight.

Honeywell UOP’s EcofiningTM technology makes it possible to deliver commercial volumes of SAF while helping the aviation industry decarbonize transport and deliver peak performance with low-carbon fuels. UOP’s EcofiningTM technology is able to produces Green Jet FuelTM (a sustainable aviation fuel) that meets and exceeds the most rigorous jet fuel standards for performance and can be made with a variety of feedstocks (raw material used to make fuel). The biomass feedstocks can include vegetable oils, animal fats, and non-food-based, second-generation feedstocks such as camelina, jatropha, and algae.

Why does this matter?
Using 100% SAF in a successful flight with passengers onboard, it will help the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint, reduce emissions, and enable affordable decarbonization options. It also means that it can be used as a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based fuels that requires no changes to aircraft technology or fuel infrastructure.

Honeywell’s innovation established the SAF market with its UOP EcofiningTM Process, which is the first technology used to maximize SAF production for commercial aviation. Building on Honeywell’s focus to create sustainable technology, Honeywell will utilize its expertise and proven process of developing sustainable fuels to continue helping the aviation industry meet its sustainability goals. It will also help airlines meet renewable energy regulations through jet fuels made from biomass feedstock and help refineries get more from their existing units while lowering compliance costs.

For passengers, policymakers, and airlines alike, knowing how air travel impacts the environment is crucial.

It’s why key players in the aviation industry have set sustainability commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases caused by air travel.

The production and use of SAF will continue to be key to the future of the aviation industry.