It’s huge, it’s wide, and it’s potentially a lot more sustainable. The Airbus A380, a behemoth of the skies, has completed a trial flight powered on cooking oil.

The test airplane completed a three-hour flight from Blagnac Airport in Toulouse — Airbus’ French headquarters — on 25 March. It was powered by Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF — predominantly made of used cooking oil and waste fats — and operating on a single Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine.

Airbus then followed up with a second A380 flight, using the same cooking oil fuel, on March 29, flying from Toulouse to Nice. The second flight was to monitor SAF use during take-off and landing.

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The fuel used was supplied by TotalEnergies, a company based in France’s Normandy region. It was made from Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), which is free of both aromatics and sulfur.

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Airbus has been testing the use of SAF-powered flights for the last year, with an A350 being tested in March 2021, and an A319neo single-aisle aircraft flying on cooking oil in October. The company hopes to get its aircraft certified to fly on SAF by the end of the decade. Currently, Airbus aircraft can be powered by up to 50% SAF, blended with traditional kerosene.

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