Welcome home Matt and Robin! These two pilots from Diamondo Earthrounding have safely returned to Zurich in their five-seater aircraft after having circumnavigated the world with the mission to link initiatives accelerating sustainable aviation. We as their partner have supported them on their longest and most difficult flight legs over the Pacific with our SWISS Mission Support, find out more here.
What did they experience in Europe, after crossing the North Atlantic via Greenland and Iceland and how did they spend their last days of their journey?
For their last flight legs and after being back in Europe, Matt and Robin were able to fill up their Diamond Aircraft DA50 with more Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in Amsterdam as well as at Lufthansa Group’s Hub in Frankfurt. For all of these fuel uplifts, the SAF was produced from biological sources, mainly from used cooking oil.
Flying with kerosene made from sunlight
However, alternative sources for SAF are required in the future. Synhelion, a spin-off from ETH Zurich, is currently building the world’s first-ever facility for industrial production of solar SAF in Jülich (Germany). Fascinated with the technology, the Diamondo Earthrounding crew made Jülich one of their last stops of their flight around the world.
There, they witnessed how a field of sizeable mirrors concentrates sun light in a receiver located in a tower. Using the concentrated solar heat, Synhelion’s technology produces Syngas from water and carbon dioxide, basically reversing the combustion process. The Syngas can afterwards be refined into SAF. If the carbon dioxide is directly captured from our atmosphere, solar fuels have the potential to close the carbon cycle. We at SWISS and the Lufthansa Group have recently announced our strategic partnership with Synhelion to bring solar aviation fuel to market, see here.
A visit at the CleanTech Hub at FRA airport
With positive impressions from Jülich, the Diamondo Earthrounding journey continued to Frankfurt. Gathering with Lufthansa Group CleanTech Hub representatives on the airport’s apron area, Matt and Robin were introduced to sustainable technologies deployed by Lufthansa Group. They were for example able to touch the so-called AeroShark foil helping reduce friction drag and thus fuel burn. We at SWISS will be the first commercial airline in the world to modify our Boeing 777 fleet with this “second skin”, check it out here.
Before finally taking-off back home to Zurich, Matt and Robin received the same blend of jet fuel and biological SAF as the huge Boeing 777 of Lufthansa Cargo next to them.
Welcome home to Zurich
Powered by SAF in their tanks, they arrived back in Zurich a day later on 22 April, which was also the Earth Day 2022 and thus rounding off their story. With touchdown, they completed their circumnavigation by shutting the engine down on the same parking position they departed from 111 days earlier.
“Having SWISS Mission Support provide us with weather information on our longest and most difficult flight legs over the Pacific was crucial for making it back to Zurich safe and on time”, Robin comments. This year, the motto of Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet”. “Now more than ever the existing solutions to make flying net zero emissions should be used”, Matt adds. While the Diamondo Earthrounding website lists tools for private pilots and business aviation customers to do so, Compensaid can be used to compensate emissions of your personal SWISS flight.
Proud of this important mission
We are very proud to have supported this unique journey and message of Diamondo Earthrounding and thus contributed to their safe return. As a commercial airline, we are firmly committed to minimizing the environmental impact of our business and operations. In this regard, we pursue and promote a wide range of measures to reduce the fuel consumption and thus the carbon dioxide emissions of our operational activities. Therefore it was great to accompany their story that illustrated where and how air travel passengers, airfreight customers and private pilots can help to scale up sustainable initiatives cutting our CO2 emissions and make them more accessible for the wider air travel community.
Facts & Figures about their journey:
• 111 Days en route (02 January – 22 April 2022)
• 55 Hotel beds
• 75 Destinations
• 33 Countries
• 5 Continents
• 16 Sustainable initiatives for aviation visited
• 200 hours of video material shot
• 58’000 km covered
• 8500 liters JET A consumed
• 220 flight hours
• 263 km/h avg. Speed
• 10.2 USG/h, 14l/100km Avg. fuel consumption
• 80% of emissions reduced through SAF through Jet Aviation’s “Book and Claim”
• Remaining 20% emissions compensated through myclimate.