In recent years, the aviation industry has attracted scathing criticism for producing high volumes of carbon emissions. According to statistics published by the Air Transport Action Group, in 2019 alone, the global aviation industry produced somewhere in the region of 915 million tonnes of CO2.
As Duncan Clark – Renovare Fuels’ Business Development Director – will be well aware, the UK Government recently announced plans to make greener air travel a top priority, providing special funding in support of such efforts.
As a leading specialist in the field of carbon-neutral liquid fuels and with a management team including Chairman Matthew Stone, Renovare Fuels is at the forefront of an industry shift, leading the transition to greener aviation.
Total global CO2 emissions for 2019 amounted to 43 billion tonnes, with the aviation industry accounting for just 2% of that figure. On the face of it, this seems like a drop in the ocean. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the ever-increasing impact of emissions as a driver for climate change, governments and organisations all over the world are rapidly arriving at the conclusion that 2% is still 2% too much.
Over the past few years, the aviation industry has seen consistent growth. According to a study undertaken by the International Council on Clean Transportation, between 2013 and 2018 aviation carbon emissions grew at a rate 70% faster than predicted.
The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has undeniably curtailed air travel, curbing CO2 emissions for 2020. The industry currently faces substantial challenges in the fight against Covid-19, not to mention significant economic pressures that are diverting attention away from sustainability issues. However, improved sustainability is still important, and remains a crucial mid- to long-term goal.
Even in the current environment, the need for long-term change within the aviation industry is an important talking point. Following the inaugural meeting of the UK Department for Transport’s Net Zero Board, it was announced that international shipping and aviation would form part of the UK Government’s Net Zero Target in coming years, placing even greater impetus on greener aviation. The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) also recently announced plans to invest £400 million in green aerospace technology and research.
It is not just down to aerospace design engineers to make aviation greener. Everyone has their own part to play, including the end user. A few years ago, many airlines and their customers embraced the UN Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. There are many ways aviation companies can offset emissions, but possibly the most impactful is by incorporating biofuels in their fuel stock.
Derived from waste, biofuels offer significant value to airlines. Since biofuel is developed using waste materials produced by other industrial sectors such as agriculture, transitioning to biofuels not only reduces CO2 emissions, but it does not require additional energy output or compete with existing crops.
Renovare Fuels is currently developing second generation biofuels for aviation, providing objectively carbon-neutral fuel sources for end users. Perhaps the biggest advantage of adopting these fuels is that simply by partnering with a biofuel producer, airlines create sustainable fuel supply chains that have a significant impact in terms of offsetting emissions. Although this is just one option for making aviation more sustainable, it certainly shows a great deal of promise. Industry experts point out that while the BEIS is right to address the need for supplemental research into technologies which support better fuel economies, it is unquestionably beneficial for end users to adopt biofuels in terms of offsetting CO2 emissions. For green aviation to really get off the ground, experts say it is vital for end users to take meaningful steps now, embracing carbon-neutral fuel sources to curb overall emission levels.