Sustainable aviation fuel derived from cooking oil, trash taking off
The move toward sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from cooking oil, household rubbish and other materials is gaining momentum in the airline industry, which has been the target of criticism because of the high carbon dioxide emissions associated with flying.
In late March, aircraft manufacturer Airbus SE flew an A380 jumbo jet for about three hours powered by SAF for a test flight in Toulouse, southwestern France, indicating the safety of SAF and signalling a wave of change in the aviation industry.
The term “flight shaming” was popularised by environmental activist Greta Thunberg. In 2019, the Swedish teenager crossed the Atlantic Ocean by yacht when she travelled to the UN headquarters in New York for a climate summit, instead of travelling by plane.
Jet fuel derived from crude oil is responsible for most of the carbon dioxide emissions produced by the airline industry, which has come under increased scrutiny amid a global push for decarbonization.
The sense of urgency is particularly strong in Europe, where environmental issues attract more attention. European countries have started setting goals for the introduction of SAFs, which currently account for less than 1 per cent of the total global supply of aviation fuels.
In Norway, it has been mandatory for airlines to use SAF mixed with other fuels since 2020, and Britain wants 75 per cent of aviation fuel to be powered by SAFs by 2050.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, aims to adopt this year a target of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions among international airliners by 2050. As a result, efforts by the world’s airlines are likely to accelerate.
Securing raw materials is one of many challenges that lie ahead.
In urban areas, there are multiple sources of used cooking oil, such as restaurant chains, so procurement is not expected to be difficult.
However, price inflation has been seen due to demand among overseas manufacturers.
Keeping costs down will be a challenge, too. SAFs are three to four times the price of conventional aviation fuels.
Source StuffApril 15, 2022