New fuel technology to cut aviation industry’s carbon emissions by 62 per cent
The aviation industry is adjusting to new technology in the manufacturing of a feature fleet of aircraft that will run 100 per cent on sustainable fuel as the industry puts in place ambitious measures to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The aviators say Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) can cut carbon emissions by up to 62 per cent if it is adopted by airlines. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an umbrella body representing 83 per cent of the global airlines, has put in place a number of roadmaps under its Long Term Aspirational Goal, which has to be implemented in order to achieve the zero emissions target within the set timeline. This comes at a time when airlines are stepping up efforts in the adoption of sustainable fuel in support of a global call for the elimination of greenhouse gases as the world stares at the dangers of climate change. Locally, Kenya Airways and Jambojet have so far tested sustainable flights with the use of SAF fuel to Netherlands and Mombasa last month. The success towards net zero by airlines is hinged on a five-point plan that includes energy infrastructure, operations, finance, and policy that will make the industry achieve its goals. “The roadmaps are the first detailed assessment of the key steps necessary to accelerate the transition to net zero by 2050. Together, they show a clear direction and will evolve as we dig deeper to set interim milestones on the way to net zero,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director-general. “The roadmaps are a call to action for all aviation's stakeholders to deliver the tools needed to make this fundamental transformation of aviation a success with policies and products fit for a net-zero world,” he said. On aircraft technology, IATA says the development of more efficient aircraft and engines will be a key pillar towards achieving zero emissions. The global aviation body says of importance here are the steps needed to enable aircraft powered 100 per cent by SAF hydrogen or batteries. “But even though SAF is expected to be fully implementable with future aircraft fleet, it still has major inter-dependencies on policy, aircraft technology, energy infrastructure, financing, and operations for which these roadmaps are critical,” the aviation body says. On the energy and new fuels Infrastructure roadmap, the aviation sector is focusing on the fuels and new energy carrier infrastructure upstream from airports needed to facilitate the use of aircraft powered by SAF or hydrogen. “As with all other successful energy transitions, collaboration between governments and industry stakeholders is crucial in creating the necessary framework to achieve the decarbonisation goals,” says the agency. On finance, IATA says ways of financing the cumulative $5 trillion needed for aviation to achieve net zero by 2050 should be looked into. The funding will go towards technological advancements, infrastructure developments, and operational improvements. Last month, Qatar Airways signed a deal with Shell to source 3,000 tonnes of SAF at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. The fuel encompasses the existing jet fuel contract with Shell at Amsterdam, which will now see Qatar Airways using at least a five per cent SAF blend over the contract period for the fiscal year 2023-2024. The Qatar Airways bilateral agreement with Shell is part of a wider effort initiated by the OneWorld alliance, which has set a target of using sustainable aviation fuel for 10 per cent of combined fuel volumes by 2030. The carrier participated in the second edition of the Sustainable Flight Challenge , an initiative of SkyTeam- a friendly competition between members of the alliance. Eni Biojet contains 100 per cent biogenic feedstock and is suitable for use with up to 50 per cent of JetA1 fuel. “The supply of Eni Biojet to Nairobi Airport is an important step for Eni Sustainable Mobility because it confirms that the company can support airlines such as Kenya Airways in their path towards decarbonisation” says Stefano Ballista, CEO Eni Sustainable Mobility. From 2025, all aircraft departing from European airports will be required to incorporate a proportion of SAF in their daily uptake of jet fuel in accordance with the direction indicated by the European Union with the ReFuelEU Aviation regulation that sets the targets for mixing traditional fuels with increased amounts of more sustainable fuels.