IATA asks states to try to produce sustainable aviation fuels

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IATA asks states to try to produce sustainable aviation fuels
Source: Boeing
June 21, 2022

The industry pursues its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to urgently implement large-scale incentives to rapidly expand the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) as aviation pursues its commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. .

To meet aviation's net zero commitment, current estimates indicate that SAF will account for 65% of aviation's carbon mitigation in 2050. That would require an annual production capacity of 449 billion litres. Investments are being made to expand the annual production of SAF from the current 125 million liters to 5 billion by 2025. With effective government incentives, production could reach 30 billion liters by 2030, which would be a turning point. for the production and use of SAF.

“Governments don't need to invent a playbook. Incentives to transition electricity production to renewable sources like solar or wind worked. As a result, clean energy solutions are now cheap and widely available. With similar incentives for SAF, we could see 30 billion liters available by 2030. Although this is still far from where we need to be, it would be a clear turning point towards our net zero ambition of ample amounts of SAF at affordable prices,” said Willie Walsh . , IATA Director General at the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar.

In 2021, regardless of price (SAF is two to four times the price of conventional jet fuel), airlines bought every last drop of the 125 million liters of SAF that were available. And already more than 38 countries have specific SAF policies that pave the way for market development. Taking a cue from these policy moves, airlines have entered into $17 billion forward purchase agreements for SAF.

Incentives to increase production

Electricity production through solar or wind power faced similar obstacles when these technologies replaced fossil fuels. With effective political incentives, both are now affordable and widely available. 

By applying similar incentive-based policies to SAF, governments can support global production of SAF to reach 30 billion liters by the end of the decade. This would be a turning point as it would send a clear signal to the market that SAF is playing its intended long-term role in aviation decarbonisation and encourage investments to increase production and reduce price.

The SAF market needs stimulation on the production side. America is setting an example for others to follow. Its SAF production is expected to reach 11 billion liters by 2030 thanks to strong government incentives.

Europe, on the other hand, is the example not to follow. Under its Fit for 55 initiative, the EU plans to require airlines to increase SAF by 5% at all European airports by 2030. The decentralization of production will delay the development of economies of scale. And forcing land transportation of SAF will reduce the environmental benefit of using SAF.

Other propulsion technologies
Hydrogen and electric aircraft are part of aviation's plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but are likely to be limited to short-haul routes. SAF is the proven solution for long-haul flights.

“Hydrogen and/or electric propulsion systems will most likely be available for short-haul commercial flights by 2035, but most of the emissions come from long-haul wide-body flights and to address these emissions, SAF is the only proven solution. We know it works and we need to redouble our efforts to get all industry players on board, including governments, to increase production, availability and uptake,” said Sebastian Mikosz, IATA Senior Vice President Environment and Sustainability.

Net Zero and Aspirational Long-Term Goal
In October 2021, IATA member airlines came together and made the monumental decision to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. This commitment brings the industry in line with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. Climate change is the biggest threat facing our societies and achieving net zero emissions will be a major challenge as the expected scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon.

To provide the right set of consistent policies and the necessary long-term stability for investments, the aviation industry calls on all governments to support the adoption of a long-term climate goal for air transport in the 41 th Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ) this September, in line with industry commitments. This climate target is critical to supporting industry decarbonisation ambitions and would provide a global multilateral framework for action without distorting competition.

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