UK Must Help Fund Green Jet Fuel to Meet Targets

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New decarbonization targets for the UK aviation sector will require substantial government support to build a domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry of sufficient scale. "Goals are fantastic, but we need real-life action," said the Air Transport Action Group’s Executive Director Michael Gill. Gill was speaking after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled targets for interim cuts in carbon emissions of 15% by 2030 and 40% by 2040 en route to net-zero by 2050. SAF is assumed to do much of the heavy lifting, accounting for at least 32% of the necessary reduction in the sector's carbon emissions by 2050. It's hoped that SAF will be powering all UK domestic flights by 2030 and that government support will help build five to 15 plants that can make up to 1 million metric tons per year of SAF from household and industrial waste by the mid-2030s. Government Support Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways (BA), called for three different types of UK government support for SAF: direct investment in plants; measures to provide price certainty; and a blending mandate. BA itself has committed to using 10% SAF by 2030. It has already signed a supply deal with LanzaJet and invested directly in Velocys' Altalto SAF plant at Immingham. The EU is due to launch a SAF blending mandate next month (IOD Jun.14'21). But the UK won't do so until November after a consultation process that still has not started yet. Use of SAF in the UK is still very limited for the time being. London's Heathrow Airport only got its first delivery of SAF last month from Finland's Neste via trader Vitol, which was timed to coincide with the G7 meeting in Cornwall. The same pair also plans to supply a batch of SAF -- made from used cooking oil -- to Glasgow Airport in time for the COP26 climate conference in November. Covid-19 Impact The Sustainable Aviation (SA) coalition of UK airlines, airports, aerospace manufacturers and air navigation service providers published a roadmap last week for meeting the targets set by the government.

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