Partnership with Brunel Solar Team

SustainabilityJun - 22, 2022

We are pleased to announce that Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP) is partnering with the Dutch Solar Team to compete in the Sasol Solar Challenge in South Africa from 9 to 16 September 2022.

Building on Air France KLM Martinair Cargo´s record of innovating to achieve greater sustainability in transport, AFKLMP will be the Dutch Solar Team´s logistical partner in South Africa´s Sasol Solar Challenge by assisting with the air transport and related processes of the team´s solar vehicle, the Nuna 11s. AFKLMP will also convert the fuel needed to fly the Nuna 11s from Amsterdam to Johannesburg into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), reducing the carbon footprint of its journey.

The oil crisis in 1973 and growing awareness of the damage that fossil fuels cause the environment have sparked global efforts to produce alternative sources of fuel for households and transport. In 1983, the Danish inventor Hans Tholstrup built the first car powered entirely by solar energy. He drove it from north to south Australia, proving that the impossible was possible. Tholstrup is considered the founder of Australia´s World Solar Challenge.

In 2001, the Dutch Solar Team, made up of students from Delft University of Technology, took part in the sixth World Solar Challenge in Australia. Their aim was to inspire as many people as possible to think about sustainability and innovation. As the late Dutch astronaut and Solar Team leader Wubbo Ockels once said, “There is only one earth. And there is no spare”.

Of the 43 teams that took part, the Delft students were the first to cross the finish line with the Nuna, making them the first ”rookie” team to win this race.

Today, solar racing is intended to inspire and drive technological innovation while raising awareness of the environmental impact of fossil fuels and how it can be mitigated. By pushing the different teams to not only use new technologies but also refine them, solar racing drives progress in sustainable technology that will eventually lead to more commercial innovations.

In 2019, KLM and Delft University of Technology entered into a partnership agreement aimed at making aviation more sustainable. The partners carry out joint research into alternative sustainable fuels and energy-efficient aircraft design, such as the Flying-V.

AFKLMP´s main innovation in reducing its carbon footprint is the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Programme, the first of its kind in the industry. Launched in 2021, the SAF Programme invites players in the value chain to purchase sustainable aviation fuel for their flights, thus lowering the total carbon output of their journeys. SAF is produced using alternative feedstock, such as used cooking oil and straw and wood residues (but never palm oil). Blended with conventional jet fuel, SAF proactively reduces emissions by up to 85% compared to fossil fuels.

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