RAF Turns to Synthetic Fuel and Electric Aircraft As It Joins the Net Zero Race

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The race is on to reduce carbon emissions. Major companies have already committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century. Now, it’s the Royal Air Force’s turn to go green as it just revealed its roadmap to achieve Net Zero by 2040.

Climate change is causing a global shift, and governments and corporations are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint. The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the latest to join the green race. The news comes hot on the heels of RAF’s recent milestone, which was achieved in collaboration with Zero Petroleum.

Earlier this month, the two set a Guinness World Record for the world’s first successful flight using just synthetic fuel. As part of Project Martin, an Ikarus C42 microlight aircraft successfully completed a flight running on the synthetic UL91 fuel made by Zero Petroleum.

The fuel was produced by extracting hydrogen from water and carbon from the CO2 found in the air. They were then turned into synthetic fuel using clean energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. Capable of saving up to 90 percent of carbon per flight without affecting the aircraft performance, synthetic fuel plays a significant role in achieving the Net Zero goal by 2040.

“The way we power our aircraft will be a big part of achieving that goal, and this exciting project to make aviation fuel from air and water shows how it might be done,” said the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston.

And that’s just the beginning of a series of implementations designed to make RAF a sustainable force. The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) will also be explored, and several experiments as part of RAF’s Project Vital will focus on finding ways “to reduce and recapture carbon from the atmosphere by using moss walls, plants, and geothermal and solar energy.”

Other strategies include developing electric aircraft, minimizing single-use plastics, limiting work travel, and replacing diesel vehicles with EVs. Moreover, the RAF plans to establish its first Net Zero airbase by 2025.