Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsEnergyThe Remarkable Potential of Sustainable Aviation Fuel for Carbon Emission Reduction

The Remarkable Potential of Sustainable Aviation Fuel for Carbon Emission Reduction

Airplanes of United Airlines, sustainable aviation fuel
In 2019, United Airlines purchased up to 10 million US gallons (38,000 m3) of SAF from World Energy. Credit: Raimond-Spekking, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 4.0

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is emerging as a crucial key solution to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. As air travel continues to grow post-pandemic, there is an increasing interest in SAF both by businesses and governments. This is seen as a means to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional jet fuel.

Made primarily from renewable biomass and waste resources, SAF has the potential to put aviation on a more sustainable trajectory and stop it from being one of the main contributors to global warming.

Environmental impact of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel can reduce much of greenhouse gas emissions. This can actually reach a jaw-dropping 80 percent compared to fossil-based jet fuel. This can be achieved because the carbon dioxide absorbed by plants during the growth of biomass feedstocks is roughly equivalent to the amount emitted when the fuel is burned.

Some typical feedstocks used to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel include used cooking oil, animal waste fats, municipal solid waste, and purpose-grown energy crops that are meant to be used for such reasons.

In addition to the carbon benefits, Sustainable Aviation Fuel contains fewer impurities. These impurities like sulfur, result in significant reductions in particulate matter emissions behind the aircraft. Studies from previous years have shown that using a mere 50 percent SAF blend can cut particulate matter by a significant 50-70 percent.

According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, if this transition to SAF is scaled globally, the world would see improved local air quality around airports and reduced climate warming effects from aviation.

Future prospects of Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Despite the environmental benefits, Sustainable Aviation Fuel currently makes up less than 0.1 percent of global jet fuel due to significantly limited production.

Dramatically scaling up supply to meet the aviation industry’s future needs will be critical, if we want to see an organized transition. Ambitious SAF targets have been already set – for example, the U.S. aims to produce three billion gallons per year by 2030 and enough SAF to meet 100 percent of aviation fuel demand by 2050.

Achieving these goals will definitely require policy support and administrations that are willing to drive investment in new production facilities and bring down costs.

Long-term policy certainty and stability is also key to reducing investment risks for producers. Governments on both sides of the Atlantic and in Asia are starting to implement SAF-supportive policies. These include blending mandates, tax incentives for those who do it, and specific SAF targets that need to be met.

The Biden Administration is also working to boost SAF production through a SAF Grand Challenge initiative and new tax credits. However, a potential change in the Whitehouse in 2025 could mean that this might not have the support of a new Trump administration.

For this reason, challenges remain in scaling SAF to the levels needed. This includes high production costs and limited availability of sustainable feedstocks, as not many people produce the plants needed right now.

Driving down costs will also necessitate additional government incentives as well as technological advancements. This will be crucial to process feedstocks more efficiently and develop new production pathways for the near future.

Ensuring a sustainable supply of feedstocks as the industry grows is also a key issue that will require a focus on waste and residue streams in addition to purpose-grown crops, something that currently is not as sufficient as the industry would like.

Is this the way forward?

What is certain is that Sustainable Aviation Fuel will be essential for the aviation industry to meet its ambitious climate targets. With the potential to cut carbon emissions by up to 80 percent compared to today, SAF offers a viable solution to decarbonize one of the hardest-to-control sectors. However, achieving the future potential of Sustainable Aviation Fuel will require a clear political will along with strong effort from policymakers, producers, airlines, and other stakeholders, including the passengers themselves.

Government support through consistent policy incentives will also be critical to spur production and investment to this sector. Continued technological innovation to bring down costs and improve the efficiency of the production line is also key.

All parties involved should start working together to address these challenges. This will enable them to deliver on the promise of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and pave the way for a more sustainable future of flight and commercial aviation.

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts