Embraer and Pratt & Whitney have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on studies into the use of 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), the companies said Tuesday. Technical teams from both companies plan to work to define an integrated ground and flight test plan for 100 percent SAF in a Pratt & Whitney GTF-powered Embraer E195-E2.
In a statement, a Pratt & Whitney spokesperson told AIN that the partners will collaborate on a plan for ground and flight testing, which, she said, they anticipate will happen in the U.S. Meanwhile, in a tweet, Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO Arjan Meijer said they plan the first demonstration flight to happen next year.
The initiative reflects what the companies call a shared commitment to supporting the aviation industry’s goal of reaching net-zero CO2 emissions for air travel by 2050. While SAF accounts for an important tool toward reaching that aspiration, technical standards devised by ASTM International currently allow aircraft to operate with SAF at blends with standard jet fuel of only up to 50 percent.
“We are committed to continually enhancing the efficiency and performance of our products, and by further extending their compatibility with SAF, we will enable our customers to operate as sustainably as possible,” said Meijer. “Embraer has a recognized track record of innovation in sustainable fuels, which includes the industry's first certified ethanol-powered aircraft in 2004, and collaboration is an essential pre-requisite for our industry to achieve our environmental goals.”
Pratt & Whitney, meanwhile, has actively worked on SAF testing and certification for almost two decades. “We will strategically continue to support 100 percent SAF flight tests for key customers that expand SAF uptake, including partnering with Embraer to test the E-Jets E2 aircraft on 100 percent SAF as part of their 2050 net-zero emissions target,” said Pratt & Whitney chief sustainability officer Graham Webb. “Through our constant pursuit of more efficient aircraft propulsion technologies, we are determined to support our customers in achieving their goal of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and will ensure that our engines will be ready for operation with 100 percent SAF.”