(19 Oct 2021)
Under the UN’s Race to Zero goals, the current
‘breakthrough’ required for the decarbonisation of aviation is to
achieve a minimum of 10% sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) use by
2030, with the proportion not reaching 100% earlier than 2050.

Three of the leading companies investing in the
technology that could enable this to happen sooner than current
targets are Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Shell.

By 2023 all Rolls-Royce Trent engines, used across
a range of long-haul aircraft, will have been proven compatible
with 100% SAF. That builds on the company’s earlier commitment to
test Trent models currently in production and means that within
two years Rolls-Royce will have proven that net zero carbon
operation is possible with about 40% of the world’s long-haul
aircraft engines.

All Airbus aircraft are currently certified to
operate on up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene and Airbus
has the ambition to achieve certification of 100% unblended SAF by
the end of this decade.

By 2025, Shell alone has committed to produce 2
million tonnes of SAF per year. That is more than 10 times the
total amount of SAF produced globally today. By the end of the
decade, at least 10% of Shell’s global aviation fuel sales are
expected to be SAF. Shell is already building one of Europe’s
biggest biofuels plants in the Netherlands, with production due to
start in 2024.

Anna Mascolo, President Global Aviation, Shell,
said, “The aviation sector is moving towards net zero, but we need
to accelerate. Shell’s commitment is clear: within four years,
we’ll produce 10 times as much SAF as is currently made by all
producers across the world, with other industry players expected
to step in to complement this ambition. With partners like
Rolls-Royce and Airbus, Shell is shaping a future where we can
still benefit from flying while emissions are driven down. We can
strengthen the industry’s momentum with a regulatory framework
that supports our investment in technology and infrastructure,
while helping us build customer demand.”

New all-electric, hybrid-electric and hydrogen
technologies will all have a role to play in reducing the aviation
industry’s use of fossil fuels over the medium to long-term. For
long-haul aviation, the challenge of decarbonisation is
particularly difficult and SAF represents a clear pathway to net
zero flight over longer distances.

Aviation needs around 290 Mt of fuel a year and
this is expected to grow as the sector continues to grow following
the pandemic. Global SAF production will therefore have to
increase significantly over the coming years to replace it. As a
result, collaboration and a global enabling policy environment
that matches the extent of the aviation industry’s technological
ambitions are required to scale SAF production and significantly
increase the pace of decarbonisation within the sector.

Warren East, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce, said,
“At Rolls-Royce, we believe in the positive, transformative
potential of technology. We believe we have the technology
enablers to make long-haul aviation compatible with net zero
carbon. Flying generates between 2% and 3% of global emissions,
but as easier-to-abate sectors decarbonise that proportion will
increase, so shortening aviation’s journey to net zero with action
in the opening phase of this ‘Decisive Decade’ would be a huge win
for the world. However, we will only create the focus and momentum
required to achieve this if we ratchet our collective ambition
beyond the current target of achieving 10% SAF usage by 2030. We
need partners who share our vision for the use of SAFs as a
solution for reducing emissions on long-haul flight, to help all
of us successfully transition to a net zero carbon future.”

See also:

Rolls-Royce’s All-Electric Spirit of Innovation Aircraft Takes Off
for First Time.

See latest

Travel Industry News,
Video
Interviews,

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Shell,

Airbus,

Rolls-Royce,

SAF.


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