DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo launch regular CO2-neutral freight connection from Europe to China

Carbon-neutral air freight link between Europe and China

2021/04/06 at 12:50 PM

DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo joined forces to make aviation carbon-neutral. Two German companies launched the air freight connection with zero carbon dioxide emissions between Europe and China. It is the first link of its kind in history.

The first air freight connection with zero carbon dioxide tailpipe emissions started on Thursday, 1 April. A Boeing 777F freighter of Lufthansa Cargo, which was fuelled with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), departed from Frankfurt Airport in Germany at 9.14 a.m. and headed to Shanghai Pudong Airport in China.

Mercedes-Benz, ZF and Merck are among the first customers of the new service that will be performed weekly. It will save around 174 tonnes of conventional kerosene each week. “With the world’s first sustainable cargo flight with DB Schenker at the end of 2020, we demonstrated that flying without fossil emissions is already possible,” noted Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuel or simply SAF is produced mainly from biomass waste, such as used vegetable and cooking oils. When this type of fuel burned in the engine, the same amount of carbon dioxide is released which was previously removed from the atmosphere during the original growth of the plants. In addition, greenhouse gases produced during the manufacture and transport of the fuel are fully offset by sustainable compensation projects. This ensures that flights are completely greenhouse gas neutral.

Currently, it is not possible to fuel an aircraft with SAF only due to technical and legal reasons. Therefore, the new type of fuel is blended with conventional kerosene via the airport’s refuelling system and consumed proportionally by all subsequently refuelled aircraft. Moreover, SAF costs three times more than fossil kerosene and the quantity available on the market is limited. DB Schenker and Lufthansa Cargo expect that the new carbon-neutral air freight service will reduce its price.

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