Could used cooking oil be part of aviation's future?

·1-min read
A flight from Paris to Montreal used 16% biofuel made from used cooking oil.

For the first time, a long-haul flight from Paris to Montreal used Total's sustainable fuel, which is partly made from used cooking oil. This solution, if extended on a large scale, would significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the airline industry.

On May 18, 2021, Air France Flight 342 departed from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to Montreal, Canada with a new biofuel made in France from various waste products and used cooking oil.

This biofuel represented 16% of the total quantity of fuel loaded on this Airbus A350. At present, this type of biofuel can be incorporated in small quantities without any modification to the engines or aircraft. On this flight, no less than 20 tons of CO2 emissions were avoided.

The goal behind this full-scale test, conducted by Air France-KLM, Total, the ADP Group and Airbus, is to quickly set up a French production chain for sustainable aviation fuels, so that in the longer term they can be used more widely in airports around the world.

French legislation currently calls for the incorporation of 1% biofuel on all flights departing from France starting in 2022, rising to 5% in 2025 and then 5% by 2030. Airbus is conducting several series of tests in parallel to certify airliners capable of carrying 100% sustainable aviation biofuel in the coming decades.

In the same way that the automotive industry is moving towards full electrification, the aviation industry will also have to reinvent itself and rely on alternative fuels to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

David Bénard