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Biden unveils sustainable aviation plan

President Joe Biden’s administration has unveiled plans to cut US aviation emissions by 20% by 2030 – and set an additional target of replacing all kerosene jet fuels with cleaner alternatives by 2050. 

The President is also seeking a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) tax credit as part of a $3.5tn spending bill intended to address infrastructure and climate issues, among other priorities. The airline industry feels the tax credit is needed to compensate for the higher costs of producing SAF, which can be up to five times more expensive than standard jet fuel. 

‘The proposed tax credit requires at least a 50% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and offers increased incentive for greater reductions,’ explains a statement from the White House. To achieve the 2030 target, US airlines have agreed to support a voluntary target of 3bn tonnes of SAF production by that date. 

However, some sources have pointed out that this expansion could be difficult to achieve, given that only 2.4mn gallons of SAF were produced in the country in 2019 – compared to 21.5bn gallons of kerosene. The Associated Press reports that this means just over 0.01% of the nation’s aviation fuel supply is currently sustainable.

Aviation is a notoriously difficult to decarbonise sector, with electric or hydrogen-powered plane designs still in their infancy. As such, airlines are looking to SAF to help them reduce their emissions, and fuel producers are beginning to respond to growing demand. In September, Shell announced plans to start producing its own low-carbon jet fuels at scale by 2025. Chevron also plans to produce a test batch of SAF for US-based Delta Air Lines.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World|Petroleum Review

Countries: USA -

Subjects: Decarbonisation - Aviation - Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) - Emissions - Carbon taxation -

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