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IATA pushes for incentives to increase SAF output

DOHA, 13 days ago

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to urgently put in place large-scale incentives to rapidly expand the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) as aviation pursues its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
 
To fulfil aviation’s net zero commitment, current estimates are for SAF to account for 65% of aviation’s carbon mitigation in 2050. That would require an annual production capacity of 449 billion litres.
 
Investments are in place to expand SAF annual production from the current 125 million litres to 5 billion by 2025. With effective government incentives, production could reach 30 billion litres by 2030, which would be a tipping point for SAF production and utilization, IATA said. 
 
SAF is produced from sustainable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel. Using SAF results in a reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel. Some typical feedstocks used are cooking oil and other non-palm waste oils from animals or plants; solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration. Other potential sources include forestry waste, such as waste wood, and energy crops, including fast growing plants and algae. 
 
“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 litres available by 2030. Though still far from where we need to be, it would be a clear tipping point towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General at the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar. 
 
In 2021, irrespective of price (SAF is between two and four times the price of conventional jet fuel), airlines have purchased every drop of the 125 million litres of SAF that was available. And already more than 38 countries have SAF-specific policies that clear the way for the market to develop. Taking their cue from these policy measures, airlines have entered into $17 billion of forward-purchasing agreements for SAF, it said. 
 
Incentives to ramp-up production
Further investment in production needs support from the right policies. This would boost supply and drive down costs, IATA noted.
 
Electricity production through solar or wind power faced similar hurdles as these technologies replaced fossil fuels. With effective policy incentives, both are now affordable and widely available.  
 
By applying similar incentive-based policies to SAF, governments can support global SAF production to reach 30 billion litres by the end of the decade. This would be a tipping point as it would send a clear signal to the market that SAF is playing its intended long-term role in aviation’s decarbonization and encourage investments to drive up production and drive down the price, it said.
 
“The market for SAF needs stimulation on the production side. The United States is setting an example for others to follow. Its SAF production is expected to reach 11 billion litres in 2030 on the back of heavy government incentives. 
 
“Europe, on the other hand, is the example not to follow. Under its Fit for 55 initiative, the EU is planning to mandate that airlines uplift 5% SAF at every European airport by 2030. Decentralising production will delay the development of economies of scale. And forcing the land transport of SAF will reduce the environmental benefit of using SAF,” IATA said. 
 
Other technologies
Hydrogen and electrically powered aircraft are part of aviation’s plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, but they are likely to be limited to short-haul routes. SAF is the proven solution for long-haul flying. 
 
“Hydrogen and/or electric propulsion systems will most likely be available for short haul commercial flights by 2035, but the majority of emissions come from long-haul widebody flights and to tackle these emissions, SAF is the only proven solution. We know it works, and we need to double down our efforts to get all actors of the industry on board, including governments, to increase production, availability, and uptake” said Sebastian Mikosz, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Environment and Sustainability. -TradeArabia News Service
 



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