Air travel has long been recognised as one of the hardest transport industries to decarbonise. While Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs) do exist, they make up less than 0.1% of global aviation fuel. High costs and limited supply have so far been barriers to increased usage.
It’s notoriously difficult to find suitable substitutes for aviation fuels, due to their challenging high-density requirements. One producer rising to meet the challenge of sustainability innovation in the aviation fuel industry is Lanzajet, an industry disrupter producing ethanol-based fuel. Lanzajet produces an ethanol-based SAF made from ‘recycled pollution’ and has plans to develop a total of four plants capable of manufacturing both SAFs and renewable diesel. Support for such innovative suppliers by industry leaders is going to be essential for meeting the aviation industry’s goal to be net-zero by 2050.
SAF has recently enjoyed growing support from government and industry alike. Last month, the UK government aiming to spur development of SAF production facilities in the UK, and earlier this year Boeing revealed plans to produce planes capable of flying on 100% SAF by the end of the decade. This comes as industry is collectively showing a willingness to change. Boeing, BP, Deutsche Post, DHL Group and Delta, amongst others, have signed a commitment to make SAF 10% of the global jet fuel supply by 2030 and Shell went one step further by making an active investment in LanzaJet.
As with many challenges in the transition to net-zero, the technology already exists, but a lack of investment limits uptake. While support from industry leaders is a good first step, more investment is needed for these innovative suppliers to take the lead. It is successful partnerships between aviation leaders and suppliers that will ultimately get SAF off the ground.
Author: Laura Coomber