Sustainable Aviation Fuels Decarbonisation Road-map launched
Posted on 12/02/2020
The document has been spearheaded by Sustainable Aviation (SA), a group of UK airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and air navigation service providers who came together in 2005 to tackle the challenge of ensuring a sustainable future for the industry.
Following the Committee on Climate Change’s report on Net Zero, SA reviewed its CO2 Road-map to reflect the latest research on climate change and how aviation can mitigate this. This includes a net zero scenario, outlining why SA believes that net zero is within reach for UK aviation whilst meeting growing demand. The Road-map updates the 2014 study to identify and forecast the potential for sustainable fuel production to 2050. Its specific objectives are:
- To highlight the potential contribution that sustainable aviation fuels can make to supporting the decarbonisation of the UK economy
- To outline the potential for job creation and economic growth in the sustainable fuels sector both in the UK and globally
- To build on the UK Government’s existing support to develop a strategy for UK sustainable fuels and to provide a cross departmental focus on SAF to progress development and commercial deployment, through a new Office for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (OSAF) or similar cross-departmental body with appropriate governance structure, membership and resources.
KTN’s Head of Transport, Michelle Carter, helped to shape the Road-map, drawing on the experience of running KTN’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Special Interest Group (SAF SIG). The impact of the group is singled out in the Road-map: the SAF SIG attracted over 400 members during its two year life, was able to build some useful coalitions, supported over 100 companies across the whole supply chain, made 82 introductions, brokered 9 collaborations and enabled four NDAs to be signed with a UK airline. The SAF SIG team published a series of resources: a landscape map; Cleared for Offtake – a guide for producers on what airlines are looking for in a sustainable fuel; ASTM D4054 step-by-step guide to jet fuel approval, and; Research and Development priorities to support a UK sustainable aviation fuel industry.
The SAF SIG helped to highlight the UK strengths in key industries and unique concentration of fuels expertise essential to the success of a new sustainable aviation fuels sector.
The ambitious assertion within the Road-map is that net zero is within reach for UK aviation and it is this statement that attracted mainstream media attention. The SA comments that:
The development and commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels over the next decade is vital to providing a solution to greenhouse gas emissions in flying now. Sustainable aviation fuels represent an essential near-term ‘bridge’ to technologies like hybrid-electric and all-electric aircraft. They offer significant life-cycle carbon reduction gains (at least 70%) and are cleaner burning, with up to 90% reduction in particulates. Alongside the introduction of new, cleaner fleet and engine technology, airspace modernisation and market-based carbon offsetting measures, together these represent UK aviation’s plan to decarbonise.
Critically, these fuels exist today and with the right policy support could reduce UK emissions in 2050 by at least 32% whilst making the UK a world-leader in the technology.
Today sustainable aviation fuel is at a global tipping point and the UK is well-placed to seize this opportunity and benefit from the economic, environmental, fuel and food security benefits that the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels will bring. However, we’re not there yet: the UK currently follows, rather than leads, on sustainable fuels. The US (particularly California), Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands are moving further, faster on sustainable fuels. We cannot afford to be left behind.
You can access the full Road-map here.