Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (a General Dynamics company) has been at the forefront of use of biofuels* to reduce its carbon footprint.
Since March 2016, Gulfstream has used cleaner alternative fuel in daily operations, including corporate demonstrations, test flights and completion flights, and in 2019, Gulfstream became the first private jet manufacturer to make Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) available to customers. It has taken delivery of more than 1.2 million gallons of SAF.
Gulfstream uses a blend of 30 percent low-carbon SAF drop-in fuel derived from agricultural waste and 70 percent traditional Jet A which provides the same performance as conventional petroleum-based jet fuel and requires no changes to factory-standard engines or aircraft.
Gulfstream has made more than 650 flights with a SAF-Jet A fuel blend, flying more than 1.3 million nautical miles and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 1,700 metric tons. Every gallon used by Gulfstream’s Savannah-based fleet saves at least 60 percent in carbon dioxide emissions on a life-cycle basis versus petroleum-based jet fuel. It is important to emphasize that the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is determined on a life-cycle basis as there is no direct reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide coming out of the tailpipe of an aircraft from using SAF instead of traditional Jet A. The life-cycle reduction in carbon dioxide emissions results from pulling carbon molecules out of our biosphere from a variety of organic matters and recycling those carbon molecules rather than creating additional carbon dioxide from extraction of fossil fuels from the ground and burning them to create energy.
Gulfstream’s commitment to sustainability has remained strong to date with an announcement at the 2020 Business Aviation Sustainability Summit to extend its supply contract with World Fuel Services to continue providing the private jet manufacturer with a steady supply of SAF produced by World Energy, and collaborate to create pathways to accelerate a market for SAF and grow awareness with the aim to boost demand and reduce cost.
World Energy is one of the largest and longest-serving low-carbon fuel suppliers in North America. It is currently investing $1billion into its facility in Paramount, California, and by late 2022 it will increase its total capacity of 25 million gallons a year to approximately 150 million gallons a year of neat (unblended) SAF.
The private jet industry needs more such willing participants to encourage production, availability and use of SAF.
*Biofuel is any fuel that is derived from biomass – that is, plant or algae material or animal waste. Many of the SAF’s under development are made from reusable waste products, like used cooking oil, animal fat and municipal solid waste. Since feedstock material can be replenished readily, biofuel is a source of renewable energy, unlike fossil fuels such a petroleum, coal and natural gas. Arguably, certain biofuels can improve performance as they have better freeze-point qualities and higher density.