What do 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel and carbon offsets have in common? Now, they both relate to GE Aviation’s Passport engine, a long-range business aviation turbofan. At May’s European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, GE Aviation announced two major updates: the successful completion of the first 100% SAF test with the Passport engine, and a new carbon offset program for customers — including operators of the Passport engine — in collaboration with 4AIR.

“Our customers can be confident that the Passport engine can help meet their sustainability goals to reduce CO2 emissions in flight, thanks to the Passport’s more fuel-efficient technologies compared to previous-generation business jet engines and ability to operate on lower-carbon fuels,” said Melvyn Heard, president of the Passport engine program for GE Aviation.

Learn more about the Passport 100% SAF test

Kicking off EBACE on May 23, GE Aviation announced it recently completed testing of the Passport engine using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), a lower carbon alternative jet fuel.

Like all GE engines, the Passport engine can operate on approved SAF today. And, the recent testing shows the capability of the engine to run on 100% SAF. It was the first time the Passport engine was tested with 100% SAF.

Currently, SAF approved for use is a blend of petroleum-based Jet A or Jet A-1 fuel and a SAF component with a maximum blend limit of 50%. ASTM International, an organization that develops technical standards, has not yet qualified 100% SAF. One of GE’s fuel experts chairs an international task force to develop standardized industry specifications supporting adoption of 100% drop-in SAF, which does not require blending with conventional jet fuel.

Ground testing was conducted with one engine over several days in March at GE Aviation’s Peebles Test Operations in southern Ohio. The purpose of the test was to assess the performance and operability of the engine technology with 100% SAF compared to conventional Jet A.

The Passport engine being tested using 100% sustainable aviation fuel at GE Aviation's facility in Peebles

The Passport engine being tested using 100% sustainable aviation fuel at GE Aviation’s facility in Peebles

New carbon offsets program

GE Aviation also announced at EBACE the launch of a new carbon offsets program with 4AIR, giving business aviation customers access to comprehensive sustainability programs that offset their environmental impact from flight CO2 emissions. Working with 4AIR, GE Aviation is able to leverage carbon offset programs that allow customers to make meaningful commitments, such as forestry and renewable energy, to reduce emissions equivalent to those emitted from flying.

Offset projects are independently verified to industry leading standards and permanently retired so a credit may only be claimed once. To make this a seamless process for flyers, 4AIR will track credits to ensure the appropriate volumes are acquired and retired for every flight.

The carbon offsets program is available for customers of GE’s OnPoint services program.

GE Aviation’s commitment to reduce CO2 emissions

GE’s Passport engine, which entered service in 2018, has 3% lower fuel consumption compared to other engines currently operating in the 18,000-pound thrust class and 17% lower fuel consumption compared to the CF34-3 engine. Blisk fan blades, a high efficiency compression system, rich-burn combustor, proprietary turbine system, and high efficiency mixer help enable the Passport engine’s improved fuel efficiency.

GE’s ambition is to be a net zero company by 2050, including Scope 3 emissions from the use of sold products. GE has also committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 in its own facilities and operations, including Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

In line with these company targets, GE Aviation fully supports the aviation industry’s goal to reach net-zero CO2 emissions from commercial flight by 2050, which requires the industry to deploy revolutionary technologies to reduce emissions and to advocate for increased use and availability of alternative fuels, such as SAF and hydrogen.