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Low-Carbon Fuel Opens a New Route for Air Travel​

Created By RISC | 1 week ago

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The world aims to stop world temperatures rising more than 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels, with big impacts for aviation. ​

Why must air travel change? ​

A flight from London to San Francisco, for example, release roughly a ton of carbon for each person in economy class. The aviation industry in 2018 emitted 1.0 billion tons of CO₂, or 2.5% of total CO₂ emissions. And more people are flying each year. By 2050, air travelers are set to more than double to 8 billion.

So cutting aviation’s carbon footprint is essential. ​

Jet fuel for passenger planes, freight planes, and military jets is often made from fossil fuels. But there’s now a push to develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with a reduced carbon footprint. ​

SAF is chemically similar to fossil fuel. But it’s manufactured entirely from resources such as plants, algae, used cooking oil, animal fat, and agricultural waste. SAF can help cut carbon emissions by up to 80% across the product lifecycle. ​

Many countries, particularly in the European Union, are now paying more attention to SAF development. The region aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Adopting SAF will cut carbon emissions by up to 34%. Other programs include enhancing aircraft and engine technology, introducing cost-cutting measures, and strengthening air traffic management to help European aerospace meet its net-zero carbon goals. ​

Story by: Woraporn Poonyakanok, Senior Research Engineer at RISC

References: ​
What is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)?:   ​
Climate change and flying: what share of global CO₂ emissions come from aviation?:   ​
Products and service:   ​
Final report: Sustainable aviation biofuel support study project:   ​
European’s ‘Destination 2050’ plan towards net zero carbon emission in aviation in 2050:

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