Fuel for thought

From used cooking oil to synthetic paraffinic kerosene, sustainable aviation fuel is crucial to hitting global environmental targets, reports Nigel Pittaway

Sustainable aviation fuels are vital to the development of the aviation sector

A recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report serves to highlight the importance of sustainable aviation fuels and the urgent requirement to reduce carbon global emissions.

The IPCC report released in August 2021 warns the Earth is likely to reach the threshold of 1.5°C warmer before 2035, ten years ahead of originally forecast and the findings form an important lens through which to view sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and its role in slowing the effects of climate change.

In 2019, before air travel was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, aviation was estimated to contribute 2-3% of the total carbon emissions of the planet. While this does not sound like much, according to experts it represents around 900 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, or around the same as Germany or Japan.

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