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Sustainable Airline Fuel (SAF) - what's the deal? 

As part of our sustainability strategy, we're committed to funding solutions of the future, and we believe that Sustainable Aviation Fuel could be one of these solutions. We're now able to offer our customers, and interested travelers, the chance to fund SAF. While there's no silver bullet for the climate crisis, we need to try different things and invest in potential technologies - nascent products and techniques like SAFs and carbon removal cannot be developed, tested and scaled without funding and air time. 

We should be flying less, but we should also be trying to lower the carbon emissions of the flights we are using. While hydrogen batteries could be a solution for short haul flights by 2040-45, SAFs are a potential solution for the shorter term. However, there's nowhere near the supply we need - and the only way to increase supply is to show that the demand is there. 10% of airline fuels should be SAFs by 2026. There isn't enough SAF in production, so funding is needed in order to hit this target. As part of Hotelplan Group, this is something we are committed to trying and so we're offering all Explore customers the chance to purchase SAFs along with their tour booking.  

We understand this is a nuanced topic and have answered some of the most-asked questions about SAF below. 

Sustainable Airline Fuel FAQs

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a type of biofuel or synthetic fuel produced from renewable resources such as plant matter, agricultural waste, or even carbon dioxide captured from the air. Unlike traditional fossil fuels, SAF can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of aviation. 

Regular jet fuel - also known as Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) - is derived from crude oil through a refining process. It emits greenhouse gases when burned, contributing to climate change. In contrast, sustainable aviation fuel is made from sustainable feedstocks and produces lower emissions throughout its lifecycle.

SAFs can be produced through various processes, including:
 
1. Hydro-processing: This method involves refining oils from biomass sources like cooking oil, algae or plants to produce a fuel that is chemically similar to regular jet fuel.

2. Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis: This process converts biomass or waste-derived syngas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) into liquid hydrocarbons, which can then be refined into SAF.

3. Biological Conversion: Certain microorganisms can ferment sugars or other organic compounds to produce biofuels, including SAF. 

SAF – also known as ‘drop-in’ fuel, is blended with fossil jet fuel before it is transported to the aircraft. As it can effectively be ‘plugged in’ to existing airline infrastructure, it’s a viable short term way we can help lower emissions.

Current fuel specifications dictate that the maximum mixing ration of SAF: fossil paraffin is 50:50. So individual aircraft and flights are therefore not refuelled with pure SAF; nor are all airports yet equipped with the technology for SAF refuelling. In contributing to SAF production via Explore, travelers are supporting the reduction of flight-related CO2e emissions, and with improving research and awareness of SAF as an important technology for the future.  

 

You can choose to fly with airlines that have committed to using SAF in their operations. You can also fund SAFs via Explore - as a group, we have committed to supporting the development of SAFs, and you can get involved by buying it alongside your tour it in quantities of $30, which covers enough SAF to reduce CO2e emissions by 42kg.  

We are all-too-conscious of the impact of traveling on our environment. Our strategy is not just to reduce carbon on our trips, but to mitigate what we're unable to take out - by removing carbon from the environment via Klimate and by committing to funding some SAFs. We want to invest in the technologies of the future, which might just hold the key to a greener and more sustainable future. We've chosen to purchase SAF from Neste, the leading producer of SAFs and a company deeply committed to sustainable practices. 

Neste is the world's leading producer of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Neste's MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel is available and in commercial use by many airlines already. Made from 100% renewable raw materials, it's fully compatible with existing plane engines and airport fuel infrastructure.

It’s unlikely that the SAF we fund will supply our own flights. While we know the airlines that Neste's fuels supply, we can't know which routes or aircrafts the fuel will contribute to. However we do know that the Neste Impact airline partners that our SAF will supply are all strictly commercial passenger airlines, and the SAF fuelling will take place at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.  

Simply fill out the form below, and we will add $30 of SAF to your booking if you have one, or create a 'service' just for this. We'll then email you an invoice, and a revised Booking Confirmation showing the addition.

Make a SAF contribution

If you'd like to fund $30 of SAF, please complete the form below and we can create or add it to your booking.   
Please enter your booking number (starts with EX). If you don't have a booking, please leave blank.
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