Aviation needs to change.
Aviation plays a central role in modern economies. It enables international
mobility, business, and tourism. It facilitates the worldwide movement of
cargo, from fresh food to essential medicines, enabling businesses to develop
international export markets and contributing to consumer choice.
But aviation's environmental impact is real and growing. Modern aircraft and engines are
more efficient than previous generations, but these efficiency improvements are far
outweighed by industry growth.
In 2019 the aviation industry accounted for about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions
(915 MT of CO2), but this is forecast to rise to about 3.5% by 2030. This share is higher
in developed economies: aviation accounts for about 14% of EU transport emissions. It gets
worse: CO2 emitted at altitude has a greater climate impact than at sea level, and aviation's
climate impact is not limited to CO2 . Nitrous oxides and particulates also affect the climate,
and contrails from aircraft potentially have a major effect too.
Aviation is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise. Because aircraft have to lift their fuel and carry it with them, they require energy-dense fuels which can provide high power outputs. Battery electric power has the potential to revolutionise road transport, but batteries as an aviation power source will be limited
to smaller and shorter-range aircraft, at least for the next couple of decades. Hydrogen power has considerable potential, but will require a whole new generation of aircraft, engines, and fuel infrastructure.
In the short and medium term, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) are the key enabler of reduced aviation emissions. These can be biofuels, produced from feedstocks like biomass crops, agro-forestry waste, or municipal waste, or synthetic fuels ("e-fuels") manufactured from carbon and hydrogen. Because these fuels are not derived from fossil sources, and provided that renewable energy is used to produce them, they don't increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Today, SAF production accounts for only a tiny fraction of total aviation fuel, but it's growing fast.
Higher volumes will also reduce the SAF price disadvantage compared to conventional fossil fuel.
We've produced feasibility studies for SAF production, and we've worked with multiple stakeholders to formulate business plans to drive SAF growth. Whether you are an airline, an airport, a financier or a policymaker, we can help you chart a course to faster SAF rollout and less carbon-intensive aviation.