United dragged by Twitter over greenwashing with its ‘100% sustainable fuel' flight

Twitter, Follow @shift_tnw

Wednesday was a “historic” day for aviation, United Airlines .

Boeing 737 MAX 8 flew from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and headed to Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, marking the “world’s first passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”

Today, United will be the first in aviation history to fly a passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

This flight will serve as a turning point in the industry’s effort to combat climate change.

— United Airlines (@united)

At first glance, the statement seems very impressive, but a closer look reveals that it might be an exaggeration.And yes, the Twitterverse has something to say about United’s greenwashing technique.

We’ll turn to Twitter’s snarky comments soon, but first things first: What’s this sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) United is boasting about?

SAF is a clean substitute for fossil jet fuels. Rather than being refined from petroleum, SAF is produced from sustainable feedstock such as cooking oil, solid waste from homes, and even food scraps.

This 2-minute explainer video from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) lays out everything you need to know much better than I ever could:

 

So SAF is indeed a sustainable alternative and has the potential to cut down 80% of CO2 emissions produced by conventional jet fuel.

Then why Twitter is attacking United Airlines for greenwashing?

1. The plane didn’t actually use 100% SAF

And it’s clear enough if you read the , as some of Twitter’s users did.

In fact, one engine was running with 100% SAF and the other with traditional jet fuel.

That’s because the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows for a 50% total of SAT to be used during a flight, United explains.

For this reason, SAF is basically employed by airlines as a drop-in fuel that gets blended with the conventional one at a 50-50 ratio. United decided to fly its plane with one SAT-powered engine and one fossil fuel-powered to demonstrate that “there are no operational differences between the two.”

Fifty percent SAF is what the FAA currently allows. Previously, we used a blended SAF/traditional jet fuel mix. This flight is historic because it proves that there is no operational difference when an engine runs on 100% SAF (versus that blend). The goal is to scale that!

— United Airlines (@united)

That’s definitely an admirable experiment, but Twitter folks are right to call United’s statement misleading, even if they’re not in the aviation industry.

Yes and that’s awesome but your original tweet uses misleading wording. The marketing team beat out the factual team.

— 🇨🇦Paul Beaudry🇨🇦 (@paul_beaudry)

So basically you are lying when you say 100% sustainable?

— $peer ⓥ🌱 (@Ruttemuf)

2. SAF is sustainable but not 100%

Naturally, many Twitter users asked not only how SAF is made, but also how sustainable it really is. One wondered, “What is sustainable fuel for planes? Curious…”

It’s organic material that has been refined into fuel. Some examples of this include garbage (like, straight off the truck into the refinery!), managed forest waste and agricultural waste! SAF refined from agricultural waste is what is being used on this flight!

— United Airlines (@united)

Indeed, SAF focuses on this type of feedstock to make its lifecycle as green as possible. However according to , “there are emissions produced during the production of SAF, from the equipment needed to grow the crop, transport the raw goods, refine the fuel and so on.”

But when Twitter user Michael Polanyi, Policy and Campaign Manager at , asked about the greenhouse emissions involved in the production of SAFs, United offered no reply.

What % GHG emission reductions are achieved by substituting SAF for conventional jet fuel? I assume there are GHG emissions involved in the production of SAFs.

— Michael Polanyi (@MichaelPolanyi)

3. SAF isn’t easily scalable

Actually, that’s the comment I would have posted on Twitter.

United’s flight is meant to demonstrate the “scalable uses of SAF by all airlines in the future”, but that’s easier said than done.

According to , current volumes of SAF represent less than 1% of the total jet fuel demand. And scaling up the volume is actually a very big challenge.

by the International Council on Transportation (ICCT) has focused on the EU to estimate SAF feedstock availability to meet the growing aviation demand. 

Here are two alarming conclusions:

Taking into account sustainable availability and an optimistic assumption for the deployment rate of novel conversion technologies, we estimate that there is a resource base to meet approximately 5.5% of the European Union’s projected 2030 jet fuel demand using advanced SAFs.

Even with strong policies in place, the limited availability of the best-performing feedstocks suggests that SAF production alone cannot achieve the EU aviation sector’s long-term GHG reduction obligations. 

And that’s for the EU alone. I don’t even want to imagine the numbers if the same study was applied to the US.

Besides the production challenges, there’s one more important factor to consider: the elevated cost of SAF. According to , SAF prices are about five times higher than prices for conventional jet fuel. 

So what does that mean for us, the customers? That’s right: higher prices.

I suppose your intention is to charge the extra cost to your customers on ticket prices? Or will it be subsidies, meaning extra taxes to pay for the people? Or both?

— Nicolas de Cuse (@NickdeCusa)

Either way, I’m actually in favor of SAF and support any green initiative aiming to help us tackle climate change. But the truth is that alternatives such as SAF are like using a bandage for a wound that requires stitches.

I believe the following tweet perfectly summarizes the situation and gives us some food for though. I don’t know who Timlagor is but they make an interesting point:

Read the fine print.

If you’re a loyal customer then you’re a big part of hte problem. Aviation isn’t sustainable and won’t be sustainable any time soon.

— Timlagor (@Timlagor)

News Related

OTHER NEWS

What Is Level 2 Healthcare Software, and How Can We Use It for Maximum Advantage?

In healthcare, many patients are moving through a variety of clinical workflows. Their information is being created or collected every hour of every day, and many professionals need to consider ... Read more »

Best Biotech Stocks to Invest in Now

Biotechnology firms have attracted billions in capital due to the belief that biotech can transform health care. More flexible than traditional big pharma, biotech drives past basic and applied science ... Read more »

Juventus confirm Dusan Vlahovic signing from Fiorentina

Juventus have confirmed the signing of Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina. © Provided by 90min Vlahovic underwent a medical on Friday | Ivan Romano/GettyImages Vlahovic has been one of the most ... Read more »

Huge subscription fraud campaign hits over 100 million Android users

A widespread Android subscription fraud campaign has been discovered actively stealing from users money. Uncovered by cybersecurity researchers from Zimperium zLabs, the “Dark Herring” campaign consists of some 470 apps, ... Read more »

Can you avoid COVID-19 if a household member has it? Here's how to decrease your risk

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Many of us have received that dreaded phone call or text ... Read more »

'Final days of the window' - Fabrizio Romano drops update involving 'unstoppable' Leeds target

© Provided by Transfer Tavern nahitan nandez in action for uruguay Long-time Leeds United transfer target Nahitan Nandez could be set for a move to Juventus in January, according to ... Read more »

Estados Unidos y la UE se alían para garantizar el suministro de gas a Europa en caso de bloqueo ruso

© POOL (Reuters) La presidenta de la Comisión Europea, Ursula von der Leyen, en Bruselas el 24 de enero. Para tratar de evitar que la dependencia energética europea de Rusia ... Read more »

En "Procession", dramaterapia ayuda a víctimas de abuso

© AP PROCESSION El cineasta Robert Greene conoce la responsabilidad que implica hacer un documental. No se trata solo de la película en sí, la audiencia o la narración, sino ... Read more »

Świetna forma Żyły nie wystarczyła. Rywale zmiażdżyli Polaków

© Tomasz Markowski/NEWSPIX / newspix.pl Piotr Żyła był najlepszym z reprezentantów Polski w konkursie drużyn mieszanych w Willingen Drużyna Słowenii zwyciężyła w konkursie PŚ drużyn mieszanych w niemieckim Willingen. Polacy ... Read more »

Betty Crocker Has a New Baking Line Dedicated to Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

Whatever flavor of boxed cake mix you currently have in your pantry is no match for what Betty Crocker has up its sleeve. The brand has partnered with General Mills’ ... Read more »

These Black mothers don't want their kids taught 'whitewashed history'

About a year ago, in Round Rock, Texas, about 20 miles outside Austin, complaints about book on the history of racist ideas in the United States led to threats to ... Read more »

PGA Tour golf on ESPN Plus: what can I watch and how much does it cost?

Armchair golf fans in the US have never had it so good, with more live action available from the fairways online than ever before thanks to the all-new PGA Tour ... Read more »

Love Wordle? A new archive website has every daily puzzle you missed

If you’re new to Wordle or just can’t get enough, your experience doesn’t have to stop at one puzzle a day. A Duke University student has created a website archiving ... Read more »

Steam Lunar Sale has Back 4 Blood, Sekiro and Valheim at cheapest ever prices

Steam’s New Year Lunar Sale has kicked off ahead of the start of the Year of the Tiger, and it runs from now until February 3. That means you have ... Read more »

Montana weighs wolf hunt limits; 23 from Yellowstone killed

The Associated PressThis Jan. 24, 2018, photo released by the National Park Service shows a wolf from the Wapiti Lake pack silhouetted by a nearby hot spring in Yellowstone National ... Read more »

'We are finished', 'If this is true Paratici is a joke' - Many Spurs fans erupt as claim emerges

Lots of Tottenham Hotspur fans have been left furious following claims on Twitter suggesting the club have Alvaro Morata on their list as a possible transfer target.  Reports in Spain ... Read more »

Why Man Utd's three signings on WSL deadline day were so important

Of the four biggest name clubs in the WSL, Manchester United had the most to gain from a good January transfer window and also the most to lose from a ... Read more »

Jonathan Van Ness wants you to stay curious in new Netflix series

The hallmark episode of the “Queer Eye” star’s new series, which was inspired by their long-running podcast, examines the history of the gender binary. Read more »

Egan Bernal reveals he was close to being left paraplegic in horror crash

© PA Archive Egan Bernal has given an update from hospital after his horror training crash in Colombia (Pete Goding/PA) – PA Archive Two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal has ... Read more »

Sadiq Khan poll blow: London Mayor's approval rating firmly negative for first time

(PA Wire) Sadiq Khan’s approval ratings have fallen firmly into negative territory for the first time since he became mayor in 2016, a new poll has revealed. A survey by ... Read more »

NordLayer review

NordLayer (the service formerly known as NordVPN Teams) is a capable VPN-based network access security solution for all levels of business, from startups with small teams to big corporations with ... Read more »

Blizzard warnings issued for millions as East Coast braces for ‘bomb cyclone'

Millions of Americans are in the path of a powerful winter storm that could bring dangerous heavy snow, ice and winds with hurricane-like force threatening to flood coastal areas, knock ... Read more »

1000-Lb. Sisters' Tammy Slaton Drinks 8 Bottles of Liquor a Week, 'Putting Herself in Grave Danger'

Between Tammy Slaton's eating habits, lack of exercise and her worrisome new interest in drinking excessively, her doctor is concerned she's “putting herself in grave danger.” On the season finale ... Read more »

200k call for release of teens arrested for ‘beating and killing' stepfather who ‘inappropriately touched' their 9-year-old sister

Alejandro Trevino, Christian Trevino and Juan Melendez (Hidalgo County Jail) More than 200,000 people have signed a petition calling for the release two Texas brothers and their friend, after they ... Read more »

Revealed: Nearly two-thirds of bar staff aren't fully vaccinated

Nearly two-thirds of bar and waiting staff haven’t had three COVID vaccine doses. (Getty Images) Nearly two-thirds of bar staff and waiters in England are not fully vaccinated against COVID, ... Read more »

How Queen Elizabeth's Uncle Helped Her Father Have an Affair with a Married Woman

FREDA DUDLEY WARD, Edward VIII, George VI Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo Prince Albert, Freda Dudley Ward and Edward, Prince of Wales around 1925 A 103-year-old letter that's ... Read more »

Woman, 20, charged after tractor gets stuck at rail bridge

Emergency services on the scene at the collision with a rail bridge in Inverkeithing. Pic: Fife Jammer Locations. A WOMAN has been charged after an incident in Inverkeithing this morning ... Read more »

European consumer watchdog forces Microsoft to fairly charge Xbox gamers

London, An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in Europe has forced Microsoft to provide more transparent, upfront information to help customers understand their Xbox gaming console membership ... Read more »

West Ham in talks with Marseille over double loan deal

© Provided by 90min Duje Caleta-Car and Bamba Dieng are West Ham targets | ANP Sport/SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP via Getty Images West Ham are continuing talks with Marseille over ... Read more »

Daimler AG cambiará su nombre a Mercedes-Benz a partir del próximo 1 de febrero

Daimler AG se llamará de manera formal Mercedes-Benz Group AG a partir del próximo  martes 1 de febrero. Esto sucederá casi un año después de que se anunciara la escisión ... Read more »

BN biscuits are back - McVitie's announce return of much-loved noughties treat

When it comes to catchy jingles, nothing quite beats the tune for BN biscuits tune – which never fails to get stuck in your head for hours. And now those ... Read more »

IIT Jodhpur team develops Covid diagnosis technique using chest X-Ray

Jodhpur, Researchers at the Indian Institutes of Technology Jodhpur (IIT-J) have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chest X-Ray technique for Covid-19A screening.The team proposed a deep learning-based algorithm called ... Read more »

Data Bill waivers sought by govt worry Indian IT firms

New Delhi: The information technology sector will petition the government over concerns that the broad exemptions sought by lawmakers in the proposed Data Protection Bill will adversely impact the fortunes ... Read more »

Buy a Home Humidifier and Breathe Easier All Year Long

All products and services featured are independently chosen by editors. However, SPY may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links, and the retailer may receive certain auditable ... Read more »

Meta partners FICCI to support 5 lakh women-led SMBs in India

Social media giant Meta on Friday said it has, under its #SheMeansBusiness programme, partnered with industry body FICCI to support five lakh women-led small businesses across India. The announcement was ... Read more »

El infierno de un campeón de la NBA

© EL PAÍS Aron Baynes, en el partido ante Italia de los Juegos de Tokio. Getty El pasado 28 de julio, en mitad de un partido de la primera fase ... Read more »

Samsung Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 Ultra will reportedly come with 45W fast charging support

Samsung is expected to announce the next-generation Galaxy S series flagship smartphones on February 9. Ahead of the official launch, the rumour mill has been abuzz with the leaks and ... Read more »

Elden Ring director says It Takes Two was the last game to stick with him

Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki has said the last game to leave an impression on him was co-operative platformer It Takes Two. Speaking about Elden Ring on the official PlayStation ... Read more »

Sea of Thieves is becoming more story-driven in 2022 - and I can't wait

I’ve always found there are two types of Sea of Thieves players: the ones who take it seriously and the ones who simply want to drink grog and aimlessly sail ... Read more »

The Microsoft Teams empire is about to expand even further

Microsoft has launched a new initiative designed to attract even more customers to its collaboration platform, Teams. As described in a Microsoft blog post, the company is kickstarting a device ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic