Bakkafrost salmon made the journey to JFK airport, New York, in a jet that didn't have any fossil fuels in its fuel mix.

Bakkafrost salmon on board ground-breaking lower footprint flight to US

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Salmon produced by Faroese and Scotland fish farmer Bakkafrost was among the cargo carried yesterday in the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight across the Atlantic by a commercial airline.

SAF is made from waste products and can deliver CO2 lifecycle emissions savings of up to 70%, while performing like the traditional jet fuel it replaces.

“We are committed to being a sustainable business in every sense and with the increasing focus on sustainable exports and airfreight across the world, this SAF approach is an important development for the future,” said Bakkafrost chief executive Regin Jacobsen.

100% non-fossil fuel

SAF can be produced from non-petroleum-based renewable feedstocks including, but not limited to, the food and yard waste portion of municipal solid waste, woody biomass, fats/greases/oils, and other feedstocks.

Currently SAF represents less than 0.1% of jet fuel volumes and fuel standards only allow for a 50% SAF blend in commercial jet engines. Virgin Atlantic’s “Flight100” from Heathrow to New York yesterday demonstrated the potential of SAF as a 100% drop-in replacement for the fossil fuels being used today.

The SAF used on Flight100 is a unique dual blend; 88% HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) supplied by AirBP and 12% SAK (Synthetic Aromatic Kerosene) supplied by Virent, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation. The HEFA is made from waste fats while the SAK is made from plant sugars, with the remainder of plant proteins, oil and fibres continuing into the food chain. SAK is needed in 100% SAF blends to give the fuel the required aromatics for engine function.

A forward-thinking approach

Annika Frederiksberg, Bakkafrost board member and sales manager, said: “The way we transport our salmon around the globe has got to match the expectations of our customers and we believe that this inaugural flight is a forward-thinking approach to the world’s environmental issues. We are very proud and delighted to have a shipment of our salmon on board.”

Virgin Atlantic points out that while other technologies such as electric and hydrogen powered flights still decades away, SAF can be used now.

Chief executive Shai Weiss said: “Flight100 proves that Sustainable Aviation Fuel can be used as a safe, drop-in replacement for fossil-derived jet fuel and it’s the only viable solution for decarbonising long haul aviation. It’s taken radical collaboration to get here and we’re proud to have reached this important milestone, but we need to push further.

“There’s simply not enough SAF and it’s clear that in order to reach production at scale, we need to see significantly more investment. This will only happen when regulatory certainty and price support mechanisms, backed by Government, are in place. Flight100 proves that if you make it, we’ll fly it.”