Emirates has successfully run a ground test on one of its General Electric GE90 engines on a Boeing 777-300ER, running the turbojet on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The airline aims to operate a test flight using 100% SAF on one engine in late January 2023.
The ground test was completed on January 23, 2023, with the airline testing how an engine would perform powered by 100% SAF. Currently, SAF is certified to be blended into a 50% mix with jet fuel. According to Emirates, the test included running one engine on conventional jet fuel, while the other was run fully on a sustainable alternative. The Honeywell 331-500 Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) was also started with SAF, which then started both power plants.
Subsequently, Emirates engineers ran a test program that included idle, take-off, and climb settings at full-flight profile durations, following which both of the Boeing 777-300ER’s engines were operated at cruise settings for 15 minutes.
“Upon completion of the ground test, engine data was downloaded for review, comparison, and analysis,” the airline explained.
GE Aerospace, the manufacturer of the GE90, and Emirates signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in November 2021 to commit to a full test-flight program that would include using 100% SAF.
The fuel used for the ground test was developed “with the same qualities and performance characteristics of conventional jet fuel and have collaborated on the technical analysis and operational requirements surrounding ground testing and experimental flight activities,” Emirates said.