UK needs government support for SAF to reach emissions goals
The U.K. Sustainable Aviation Coalition has asked its government to support decarbonization through a policy to achieve the U.K.’s collective goal — set last year — of net zero emissions by 2050 and the government agreed.
Specifically, the coalition asked the government to provide “cross-departmental coordination to secure policies for developing and commercially deploying SAF, reform a requirement on transport fuel suppliers to ensure a percentage from sustainable sources, and actively drive a domestic SAF sector.”
The Committee on Climate Change has advised that if the U.K. and other major countries can reach net zero emissions by 2050, there is be a 50% chance of avoiding the “catastrophic” 34.7 F temperature rise by the year 2100. The committee also estimates that reaching its target could cost the U.K. more than $13 billion annually.
The U.K. now has a clearer path to achieving its goal of net zero emissions in aviation after plans for a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) were recently blocked. Environmentalists had fought against the airport’s proposed expansion for the past 20 years; after the U.K. parliament voted in 2018 to move ahead with the plans, an appeals court last week declared the government’s plans were in breach of the country’s climate change commitments.
A third runway would have expanded the number of flights from the airport by more than 40%. While a victory for climate activists, flights from the U.K. add almost 40 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year, which is high by international standards.
According to British journalist Chris Goodall, the only way for the U.K. to achieve its ambitious emissions targets is to focus on making sustainable aviation fuel, which has the potential to result in a 6% to 80% reduction in CO2 emissions over the lifecycle of the fuel, compared to conventional jet fuel.
The coalition’s SAF roadmap estimates that the U.K.’s production of SAF, including global exports, could be worth as much as $3.59 billion by 2035.