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The rationale for sustainable aviation fuel

Flying is essential for economies and businesses globally and at the same time enables us to visit family and enjoy holidays at the other side of the world. But partly because of its growing importance, the aviation industry is expected to double in carbon emissions by 2050. Currently, aviation accounts for approximately 2% of all manmade global carbon dioxide emissions. That figure could rise to as much as 5% by 2050 due to the sector’s anticipated rapid growth and forecasted carbon reduction from other industries. In order to maintain this growth and at the same time address environmental impact, the aviation industry has committed to carbon-neutral growth per 2020 and reducing net aviation carbon emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050.

More than 99% of airline emissions and approximately 50% of airport emissions result from the combustion of kerosene. The graph of the Air Transport Association Group (ATAG) illustrates the options available to the industry to meet sustainability targets. Increased energy efficiency and energy demand reduction are effective ways and first priority to reduce fuel consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions. But efficiency improvements do not offer a sole solution to aviation-related emissions and dependency on oil. Because airplanes are not able to switch to alternative energy sources like hydrogen or electricity in the foreseeable future, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from renewable biomass is the only way to significantly reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and at the same time also reduce the dependency on fossil kerosene.