South African petrochemicals company Sasol has flown the world's first passenger aircraft using internationally approved 100% synthetic jet fuel, a milestone in the development of cleaner-burning alternate fuels for the aviation industry.
The airliner flew from Lanseria Airport outside Johannesburg to Cape Town on Wednesday, staging a fly-past at the opening of the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2010 exhibition at Ysterplaat Air Force Base before landing at Cape Town International Airport.
The fuel, produced using Sasol's proprietary coal-to-liquids process, is the only fully synthetic jet fuel to have received approval from the global aviation fuel specification authorities for use in commercial airliners.
The South African company is the world's leading producer of synthetic fuels from coal and natural gas
"This marks a significant development in the adoption of clean-burning alternate fuels for the aviation industry," Sasol said in a statement on Wednesday. "The engine-out emissions of Sasol’' synthetic jet fuel are lower than those from jet fuel derived from crude oil, due to its limited sulphur content."
Sasol CEO Pat Davies (see interview above) said the international authorities' approval of the jet fuel "recognises the need to develop aviation fuel from feedstocks other than crude-oil, in order to meet the world's growing needs.
"Sasol's advances in synthetic fuel technology have brought us even closer to integrating viable alternate transportation fuel into the energy mix."