The transportation sector accounts for 14% of the world's GHG emissions. This is why governments and states worldwide are taking measures to lower GHG emissions through subsidies and legislation. In fact, 137 countries have pledged to be carbon-neutral, and most are aiming for a year 2050 deadline.
Aviation is responsible for 8% of the transport sector's emissions, so there is no way the aviation industry can fly under the radar. Change is coming, and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) will be in high demand. The demand for SAF is projected to be around 15 Mt in 2030 and 200 Mt in 2050, and in the long run, both biojet and eJet fuels are expected to overtake fossil jet fuel.
So, will there be clear skies ahead?
According to the legislators, yes. Blending mandates for sustainable aviation fuel are being discussed and implemented globally. The EU aims for 65% in 2050, and some countries have stated even more ambitious SAF targets. And there is a strong interest from corporates, airlines, and cargo carriers to explore and increase the use of sustainable aviation fuel.
As seen above, there are some regional differences concerning the SAF blending mandates, but the overall picture is clear. Change is on the horizon.
Feedstock availability can cause turbulence.
SAF can be produced from various renewable feedstocks, including vegetable oils, waste oils and fats, solid biogenic waste, industrial flue gases, and CO2 , renewable electricity and water for example. As the market for and production of SAF will increase, so will the need for suitable feedstocks. Other segments and industries like road transport, marine fuel and petro-chemicals are pursuing the same feedstocks for different purposes. That can become a seriously limiting factor in reaching the goals.
What does this have to do with legislation, you might think? The use of feedstock, in particular first-generation bio-feedstock, is highly regulated in some parts of the world like the EU with direct implications for the biofuel production required to supply mandated volumes.
New pathways and innovation are key.
Directives like the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) will limit the use of feedstocks that could be used for other purposes – like feeding a growing population. Specifically, the RED III includes sustainability criteria regarding indirect land use change (ILUC) and has caps on using edible oil for fuel production.
These and other regulations will limit feedstock use. This means that all pathways, technologies, and roads to producing fuels with the lowest carbon intensity need to be explored and developed to make ends meet.
LEGISLATION IS INVOLVED IN EVERY SINGLE STEP OF RENEWABLE FUEL PRODUCTION
Consider GHG savings and Carbon Intensity.
Immediate GHG savings are still the priority when producing sustainable aviation fuels. The European Union is looking at savings targets like 65% for biojet fuel and 70% for eJet fuel. And the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) requires GHG reductions of at least 10% compared to the conventional aviation fuel.
SAF can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and even be carbon negative, depending on the production methods and use of feedstock and technology. But there are still emissions throughout the supply chain, and measuring the carbon intensity (CI) is necessary to fully evaluate the lifecycle GHG emissions from fuels.
We're here to get SAF off the ground.
Every CO2 saving counts in the energy transition, and with the right technology and expertise, you can meet legislation and decarbonize profitably.
We are happy to discuss how our range of proven technologies is ready to help you meet rising demand and produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel. From the market-leading HydroFlex™ technology to the single-point license G2L™ Biofuels and G2L™ eFuels, and our new MTJet™ Biofuels and MTJet™ eFuels, we have mapped out your optimal routes to achieving feedstock flexibility while ensuring compliance with legislation.
Knowledge Special: SAF TALKSTM
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is recognized as the most important solution currently available to the aviation industry as it looks to drive down its CO2 emissions and lower its impact on the environment. SAF is presently the only sustainable alternative to conventional jet fuel but yet it currently provides just 0.1-0.15% of global jet fuel use.
So what will it take to get SAF use off the ground? In our special Topsoe SAF Talks Series, recorded at the December 2022’s SAF Summit in Copenhagen, we gathered global experts spanning the SAF value chain to share their opinions and latest insights.