MAPPING OUT THE FUTURE OF AIR TRANSPORT
A DREAM OF NET ZERO AIR TRAVEL
The planet as a whole may not meet the IPCC’s 1.5°C49 temperature rise target by 2050, with 1.8-2.5°C looking likely without large-scale business transformation. And while air travel may be only 1.9% of global CO2eqs, emissions at altitude have a different effect to those at sea level – giving the sector an even greater incentive to decarbonize.
But even in the most fossil-fuel dependent industries – like aviation – Net Zero isn’t an impossible dream. With the goals of government, producers/processors, and airlines starting to align, there’s every chance the experience of flying will be carbon-neutral as early as 2060.
DECARBONIZING, ONE FLIGHT AT A TIME …
But getting there needs a plan. Many pathways can deliver low- or no-carbon fuel, but that’s just part of the picture. Where does it make most sense to decarbonize first? How does SAF fit into your strategy, and how do you sell the idea to your shareholders and stakeholders? Which flights and routes make the biggest difference; which geographies offer the best chance of returns? At Topsoe, we believe SAF adoption isn’t a decision, but a journey. And we’re here to help.
… WITH THE FUELS OF THE FUTURE.
Topsoe offers expertise in multiple pathways leading to certified SAF. Thanks to our long experience of developing solutions for a decarbonized world, we can offer SAF planning, processing, and production with several market-proven methods today.
HydroFlex™ processes all kinds of liquid feedstocks into HEFA-SPK ASTM-certified renewable jet fuel, a drop-in replacement for JET A/A-1 with emissions reductions of over 80%. It produces far lower emissions than fossil fuels, and the technology is already well-established, with a price point at the lower end of the SAF scale. It’s likely fuels like HEFA-SPK will carry the aviation sector through the first phase of its green transformation: the next decade, into the 2030s - and beyond.
G2L™ Biofuels use a gasification process to turn a variety of waste feedstocks – solid biomass, tires, plastic – into syngas and then through Fischer-Tropsch and hydrocracking to liquid hydrocarbons, producing clean fuels from industrial waste. The resulting FT-SPK fuel offers emissions reductions of over 85%. It’s likely FT-SPK will continue scaling throughout the 2020s to be a major player in the 2030s and beyond.
G2L™ eFuels represent the ultimate goal of SAF: completely carbon-neutral (or even carbon-negative) air travel. Using energy from renewable sources like wind and solar to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen, then combining hydrogen with biogenic or atmospheric carbon dioxide, it produces clean-burn hydrocarbon fuels with no fossil use whatsoever. It’s small scale today, but demand is growing fast – and the technologies are already here. We see SPK/eJet eFuels as the long-term future of aviation, becoming the natural choice of airlines.
MTJet™ Biofuels constitutes a robust SAF pathway that uses methanol as an intermediate in jet fuel production, allowing producers to handle and capitalize on a range of bio feedstocks. Our MTJet™ technology is based on years of commercial experience and internal research and development within methanol synthesis and methane-rich gas-to-gasoline processes – TIGAS™. The process is under fast development and ASTM qualification.
MTJet™ eFuels use Topsoe’s methanol synthesis process, which can operate at just 10% of its design capacity and handle temporary electrolyzer shutdown, allowing operations to run directly off methanol storage tanks. The result is a methanol-to-jet solution that can deliver eJet fuel from renewable electricity, water, and CO2 – creating a truly end-to-end feedstock-to-fuel process pathway. The process grants the flexibility to handle feedstock fluctuations while providing around-the-clock operational stability. The process is under fast development and ASTM qualification.
USING A RANGE OF STRATEGIES
Above all, Topsoe offers options. We recognize everyone’s path to their Net Zero destination is different – and we’re here to help you plan it. Not just technological processes, production volumes, or supply chain planning – but with deep and diverse knowledge of the political and legal frameworks that surround SAF today: from mandates and incentives around the world to the likely course of future legislation.
WITH INDUSTRY EXCITEMENT BUILDING
With different interests aligning – across national borders, industry sectors, and governments of all stripes – there’s never been a better time to start your SAF journey. Increasingly, the question isn’t If, but How. But getting there carries fresh challenges – from feedstock availability to economic viability. At Topsoe, we know the landscape better than anyone else.
AND PASSENGERS POSITIVE
Global change needs global agreement. And as you start with SAF, you’ll see how people around the world are on board. More and more, passengers want to know what’s in the tank, how you’re decarbonizing, what you’re doing about emissions, what your plans are for the future. Even how they can help. The people are on your side. And so are we.
SAF’S TIME HAS COME
In this report, you’ve seen how diverse voices from across the sustainable aviation world have come together in agreement: SAF is the way forward. With IATA projecting production rising from 2% of the world’s jet fuel (7.9m tonnes) in 2025 to 65% (449m tonnes) in 2050, the message is: adapt to SAF or fade away.
Topsoe, of course, isn’t the only company able to help you with your SAF future. But with over eighty years of experience at the leading edge of chemical engineering, we’re a safe choice for your shortlist.
AND IT STARTS NOW
Perhaps the most important part of Flight Plan Green is that it’s not a dream: it’s happening now.
Somewhere in the world, right now, an aircraft is making its first flight with sustainable aviation fuel in its tanks. And we believe that one day, all air travel will be carbon neutral. It’s a goal worth pursuing – and we hope the insights in this report will help you pursue it with us.