Since more than 90% of aviation emissions are related to jet fuel combustion, the biggest climate benefits can be achieved by reducing the usage of fossil fuels. For reaching its sustainability goals, the aviation industry should therefore focus on developing efficiency gains, or greener fuel alternatives.
Through new developments in aircraft design, engine technology and air traffic management, a yearly drop of 2.1% in average fuel consumption has already been achieved in the last decade. Further innovations across a variety of areas in the next years to come will undoubtedly play an even bigger role to improve further fuel efficiencies.
Looking into greener fuel alternatives, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are considered today as the most promising and realistic option. SAF is Jet Fuel (certified under the same standard, ASTM D1655) that is made from sustainable, non-fossil sources. The largest “feedstock” is currently waste oils like used cooking oil or grease. SAF have proven to reduce the carbon footprint up to 80% over their full lifecycle, compared to conventional jet fuel. This is today the most significant contribution towards achieving carbon neutral growth in aviation. In addition to the CO2 reduction, depending on feedstock and production process, SAF can also reduce the non-CO2 emissions (such as particular matter and sulphur).
As well as being cleaner than kerosene, another benefit is that SAF use the same fuel distribution infrastructure and aircraft engines already in use and can be easily blended with conventional jet fuel, allowing for a gradual “drop-in” into supply chains without the need for expensive adaptations.
The main challenge however will be ensuring an adequate supply of sustainable feedstock at a competitive cost. The market price today is still 3 to 5 times higher than those for conventional jet fuel and there is a limited production capacity available, of around 0.1% of total aviation fuel consumption. Nevertheless, additional production volume is expected. Companies like SkyNRG and Neste already announced plans to install new SAF production facilities across Europe.
To achieve its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 50% from their 2005 level by 2050, blending SAF with fossil jet fuel will be essential to meet this goal. Flyetic is ready to take up this challenge with its SAF book and Claim program!