15 Sep 2017

Sustainable aviation fuels given boost by government

Sustainable Aviation – the coalition of UK airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and the air traffic service provider, which works to deliver cleaner, quieter, smarter flying – today welcomes the publication of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) giving a boost to the creation of a new sustainable aviation fuels sector in the UK.

Ian Jopson, Chair of Sustainable Aviation said: “We welcome the publication of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation and the incentive it provides for the development of advanced, low carbon, sustainable aviation fuels in the UK.

Sustainable Aviation members are working to develop new fuel supply chains based on sustainable, waste-based feedstocks that can achieve carbon emission reductions of at least 60% compared with traditional fossil fuels. As a sector this could also support 4,400 jobs and up to £265m for the UK economy every year by 2030.

We urge the Government to enact the legislation as quickly as possible to ensure the new legislation includes all relevant, emerging advanced waste-based technologies, therefore maximising the benefits of all available exciting new approaches.

Independent research conducted for Sustainable Aviation indicates that a domestic industry for the production of sustainable aviation fuels could provide between five and 12 sustainable fuel plants throughout the UK, generating a Gross Value Added (GVA) of up to £265 million a year by 2030 and support up 4,400 jobs. Sustainable Aviation has worked closely with the DfT since we published our Sustainable Fuels Road-Map in 2014.

The RTFO should provide a higher level of incentive recognising that the aviation sector has limited options to decarbonise and requires additional support to manufacture the high specification fuels required. It will also extend policy certainty to 2032 which should further help attract investment into the UK and ensure that sustainable fuels are able to form a part of the UK’s ambitious industrial strategy agenda.

There are still some hurdles to overcome, especially in relation to new technologies that recycle carbon from waste industrial gases, and we urge the DfT to ensure that the new legislation does not present a barrier to these and other emerging, ground-breaking technologies.

Sustainable fuels will also qualify under the new global CORSIA scheme and means that there will be a growing international market for sustainable fuels. The CORSIA continues to make good progress with 72 states signed up to the voluntary phase representing 88% of international aviation emissions.