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Masdar and Airbus combine on aviation decarbonisation

Masdar Airbus deal Supplied
The UAE clean energy firm and the airplane maker have signed a deal advancing the decarbonisation of the aviation industry
  • Deal aims to tackle current high cost of cleaner fuel
  • Collaboration drives bid to decarbonise industry
  • Aviation-related carbon dioxide emissions account for 2.5% of total 

Masdar will collaborate with Airbus on sustainable aviation fuels as the UAE clean energy giant and Europe’s largest airplane maker aim to decarbonise the industry.

The companies have signed an agreement to work on green hydrogen and direct air capture technologies which, when combined, can produce synthetic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

SAF remains limited in supply, accounting for less than 0.1 percent of airlines’ fuel use and costing almost three times as much as regular fuel.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker called last month for an overhaul of the SAF market after labelling it “exorbitantly expensive”.

According to the International Air Transport Association, SAF is able to reduce net carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80 percent and could account for 65 percent of the emissions reductions required for net zero in 2050.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said the agreement with Airbus “further amplifies Masdar’s commitment to decarbonisation”. 

Mikail Houari, president of Airbus Africa and Middle East, said: “We have a legacy of collaborations in the UAE that has contributed to advancing the country’s aerospace sector capabilities. This new agreement marks yet another milestone in the partnership between Airbus and the UAE.” 

Last week Dubai airline Emirates allocated $200 million for research and development projects focused on lowering the impact of fossil fuels in commercial aviation.  

In January Emirates also completed the first 100 percent SAF-powered demonstration flight in partnership with Boeing and GE. 

Masdar, which has invested in a portfolio of renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of around 20 gigawatts (gw), also announced an initiative to produce SAF from methanol.

As well as Masdar and Emirates, Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) are working to reduce aviation-related carbon dioxide emissions, which account for around 2.5 percent of the total. 

“The cooperation between UAE airlines, Masdar, Adnoc and international oil companies is the kind of collaboration that will be required to scale up sustainable aviation fuels to the volumes ultimately required,” Robin Mills, CEO of the Qamar Energy consultancy, told AGBI.

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