Even though aviation CO2 emissions only account for 2.0 to 2.5 percent of total global CO2 emissions annually, research to reduce CO2 emissions is urgent for three reasons, i.e. such reductions might be legally required even as commercial air travel increases; new technology takes a while to spread throughout the aviation fleet; and the ongoing effects of global CO2 emissions. Using jet fuel alternatives is a need within the market to promote sustainable practices within the commercial as well as military aviation domain.
With the growth in the commercial aviation market, it is noted that the RPK and the CTK are poised to increase. Thus the incorporation of sustainable practices within this market is noted to be a key area of investment.
Major factors driving the growth of the market
Aircraft jet fuel accounts for a major chunk of the capital cost incurred during flight operations. Additionally, it is noted that the change in the geopolitical scenario is noted to be one of the main factors that affect the same. The Russia-Ukraine war is noted to be one of the main factors which affect the market as well as the prices of jet fuel. The jet fuel prices are noted to hike owing to the present geo-political scenario of the global market. As of 2022, it was noted that jet fuel costs attained a value of USD 78 per barrel. This in turn caused the airline industry to lose USD 11.6 billion in costs. As of March 2022, the price of jet fuel was noted to be over USD 140 per barrel.
Trends influencing the growth of the market
According to the recent statistics published by IATA, was noted than above 370,000 flights have taken to technology and the introduction of concepts like green aviation is poised to drive the adoption of Aviation Alternative Fuels. Jet fuel alternatives are noted to have been derived from renewable biomass and waste materials and it has the potential to match the performance of petroleum-based jet fuel while emitting a fraction of the carbon dioxide (GHG) emissions. This would give airlines a strong starting point for decoupling GHG emissions during flights. The GHG emissions depend on the feedstock as well as the technologies used to produce the Aviation Alternative Fuels. Certain emerging Aviation Alternative Fuels pathways were noted to have produced a net-negative GHG footprint.
Since many alternative fuels for airplanes have fewer aromatic components, they burn more efficiently in airplane engines. As a result, there are fewer toxic chemical emissions in the immediate area of airports during takeoff and landing. Additionally, aromatic substances are precursors to contrails, which can amplify the effects of climate change.
Increased consumer awareness and the growing incorporation of such practices will hereby reduce carbon emissions to a permissible value. The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel is expected to reduce the skies by making use of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) since 2016. As of 2021, IATA stated that roughly 100 Million liters of Sustainable Aviation Fuel would have been produced. The increased movement towards green emissions by a value of 80% during an aircraft’s full life cycle. As per IATA, Around 14 billion liters of SAF are in forwarding purchase agreements and over 45 airlines are operational with the SAF as their primary source of fuel.
The United States is noted to be one of the pioneers in the Aircraft Alternative Fuels Market. As per statistics released by the US EPA (Environment Protection Agency), it is noted that aviation GHGs account for a value of 9-12% in the US transportation segment. The recent trends within this market dictate that to establish a comprehensive plan for scaling up new technologies to manufacture SAF on a commercial scale, the U.S. Department of Energy is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal government departments.
The use of alternative fuels for the airplane is poised to improve employment opportunities across a given market. For instance, the use of biomass and crops to generate Sustainable Aviation Fuel will hereby increase direct and indirect employment across the farming value chain. Job creation across industry segments like biorefineries, construction, et al are hereby anticipated to grow owing to the creation of this new market opportunity.
Sustainability studies also suggest that biomass crops can reduce erosion and enhance the quantity and quality of water. Additionally, they can boost biodiversity and store carbon in the soil, which has positive effects on both the environment and farms across the nation. SAF made from wet wastes like sewage sludge and manure lessens the pollution load on watersheds and prevents the atmosphere from being filled with dangerous methane gas, a major cause of climate change.