Swiss pilots to fly around the world on a mission to advocate for greener aviation

Source: press release, 25 January 2022

The pilots will achieve their circumnavigation with net-zero carbon emissions through green initiatives and technologies, mainly using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
The pilots will achieve their circumnavigation with net-zero carbon emissions through green initiatives and technologies, mainly using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) (photo: Diamondo Earthrounding)

Diamondo Earthrounding, a non-profit initiative, driven by a team of nine young aviators, departed Zurich, Switzerland in a Diamond DA50 RG 5-seater aircraft on January 2nd, 2022. Flying in an Easterly direction to visit multiple airports, cities and sustainable initiatives with a mission to connect worldwide projects for sustainable aviation, raise awareness of sustainable technologies and how to utilise them as well as aim to accelerate aviation’s path to net-zero carbon emissions.

The Diamondo Earthrouding Association, founded in 2021, links local solutions together and illustrates that disparate locations favour different solutions to make aviation greener. Diamondo’s founding partners and pilots Robin Wenger and Matthias Niederhäuser believe that one of the main pillars for green air transport is Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). During the circumnavigation, and amongst other green initiatives, the crew are therefore visiting, documenting and reporting from sites critical to the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

In addition to raising awareness for sustainable technologies, the team also promotes ways of investing in them on a voluntary basis. The Diamondo Earthrounding website offers guidance on how airline passengers, business aviation customers and private pilots can fly with net-zero emissions. Diamondo Earthrounding aspires to motivate more people to use these voluntary platforms and help accelerate aviation’s path to reduced emissions.

Since its departure, the Diamond’s journey has completed layovers to initiatives in Austria, UAE and India. Close to Vienna, the crew has stopped by the production facilities of the aircraft they are flying. “Building light and aerodynamically clean airframes equipped with fuel-efficient engines need to proceed any discussion on SAF”, says Wenger. “We, therefore, feel privileged to be operating the modern Diamond DA50 RG platform for our mission.”

In the UAE, the crew visited and overflew the enormous Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The arid climate of the UAE favours the production of electricity by solar energy. This energy can subsequently power the production of green hydrogen, a key component required to produce synthetic SAF. “Seeing the abundance of solar energy available, the desert of the UAE really is the perfect spot to harvest this potential and divert part of it towards synthetic SAF production,” Wenger concludes.

The crew’s journey continued onwards to India, where they were given the opportunity to inaugurate the Aerodrome Reference Point (ARP) of Noida International Airport, currently under construction in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. “Constructing a greenfield airport provides the team at Noida the opportunity to incorporate sustainability right from the beginning,” Niederhäuser comments. “But it’s a chance which has to be taken and we are delighted to see Noida stood up to the challenge and are following a holistic and thus ambitious net-zero carbon emission philosophy from day 1 onwards.”

Wenger and Niederhäuser are currently in Thailand, where the DA50 aircraft undergoes scheduled maintenance inspections. The two pilots can claim that they have covered the first quarter of their trip on SAF, despite not fuelling the DA50 with SAF blended jet fuel once this far. While this seems paradoxical, Jet Aviation’s “Book and Claim” system makes it possible. Through “Book and Claim”, the same amount of jet fuel that is fuelled into the DA50 flows into the global aviation system as SAF at locations where it is available.

“Harnessing the strengths of various groups with different talents and skillsets is one of the most effective strategies for bringing scale to innovative problem solving,” says Joao Martins, Jet Aviation’s VP Regional FBO Operations Europe and General Manager Zurich. “Just as we support Diamond Earthrounding in connecting and promoting sustainable aviation initiatives in different climatic conditions, they help us raise awareness of the global reach and benefits of Book & Claim.”

In total, more than 40 companies support Diamondo Earthrounding initiative on various levels. In addition, generous private patrons keep the team flying and Wenger and Niederhäuser allocate 10% of every patron donation into scaling up sustainable initiatives they are visiting.

After Thailand, Diamondo Earthrounding is preparing to cross the Pacific heading to the USA from West to East with a loop including two initiatives in the Caribbean. To track the journey, visit https://www.diamondo-earthrounding.com/track-us or follow @DiamondoEarthrounding vlog on social media.