• Gennette Cordova

Technology, not biofuel, is the top choice in aviation fuel innovation, JFIN finds


% of budget allocated to innovation by surveyed airlines, JFIN

Airlines are choosing technology over biofuel in their innovation and sustainability efforts, according to the new 2020 Jet Fuel Innovation Review report published today by Jet Fuel Innovation News.


“Of the airlines surveyed, approximately half indicated that they were planning to spend more on innovation, technology and startups in the next 12 months,” according to the report, which was based on an industry survey and prepared by Cargo Facts Consulting. “Some of the investments listed include flight planning and performance tools, fuel efficiency software, sustainable aviation fuel use, consolidating software systems with a single vendor and improved compressor wash techniques.”


The survey, which was conducted between November 2019 and January 2020 and received approximately 220 responses from a range of passenger and cargo airlines, as well as other industry participants, also noted that only about 17% of the companies surveyed allocate more than 15% of their overall budget to innovation, technology and/or startup investment; the remaining 83% invest less than 15% of their budget into innovation and technology.

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Although carriers recognize that using alternative fuel options can save up between 70-80% carbon emissions, compared with conventional fuel, only about one-third of the survey’s respondents indicated that they had used or trialed sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) or biofuels. And, even those with SAF experience continue to mainly consume conventional aviation fuel.


Moreover, despite reducing carbon, the production and use of biofuels may cause environmental harm. For instance, palm oil as a raw material has a negative impact and is not sustainable, as it is responsible for rainforest destruction, as well as swamps and peatland drainage.


“KLM has been the pioneer in operating commercial flights with sustainable jet fuel, however, the airline has stated that its use is not widespread because biofuels are sometimes 50% more expensive than conventional kerosene, depending on technology and raw material used,” said the report.


To download the complete report, including an analysis of how the airline industry is handling the topic of fuel and related issues, and the findings from an industry survey of passenger and cargo airlines, visit https://www.jetfuelinnovation.com/report.



For in-depth discussion of jet fuel’s role in fleet planning and other topics of industry concern, join us April 6-7 for Jet Fuel Innovation Summit, a new networking and learning opportunity that will dive into jet fuel processes, technologies, fuel sources and much more. To register and for more information about the event, visit www.jetfuelinnovation.com. Early registration ends Friday, Feb. 28!

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