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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

A matter of quality: reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation

30/11/2022

8 min read

Aircraft refuelling truck parked by airplane Photo: Neste
Over the past year, the EI has worked with over 40 organisations, including eight synthetic fuel manufacturers, to address perceived technical barriers to the widescale deployment of synthetic jet fuel in supply chains

Photo: Neste

Replacing the fossil fuels in the aviation sector is recognised to be a serious challenge. Here, Martin Hunnybun, the Energy Institute’s (EI) Head of Sustainable Fuels, describes the latest quality assurance initiatives for handling synthetic jet fuel in aviation supply chains as the sector aims to move towards net zero.

Progress in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aviation fuel is extremely slow. In 2019 some 95bn gallons of jet fuel were consumed globally, emitting about 915mn tonnes of CO2. Consumption figures are expected to reach at least 450bn gallons of jet fuel by 2050. Despite this, the sector is fully committed to meeting net zero targets by 2050.

 

Indeed, in October 2021 the International Air Transport Association’s  (IATA) 77th Annual General Meeting approved a resolution for the global air transport industry to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. More recently this was also set as the worldwide climate goal for aviation at the United Nation’s 41st Triennial International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) assembly in October 2022.

 

A conclusion of the Waypoint 2050 study back in September 2020 from the Air Transport Action Group was that 80% of the aviation sector’s GHG emissions come from flights greater than 1,500 km, for which there is no alternative mode of transport. Couple this with the value of airframes and engines and their extended operational life (more than twice that of an average car) and the ongoing need for energy dense liquid fuel from a renewable source becomes clear.

 

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