MEPs agree on a sustainable fuel quota

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As part of the plan Refuel EUEuropean lawmakers on Wednesday approved binding targets for green fuel for air carriers. The objective: to increase their use of sustainable aviation fuels.

The directive provides in particular for an increase in the use of fuels derived from biomass or based on hydrogen and of CO₂. It aims to increase both demand and supply of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which have zero or lower net CO2 emissions than fossil kerosene. Fuel suppliers must ensure that 2% of fuel made available at European Union airports is SAF in 2025, to reach 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035 and gradually until 70% in 2050.

From 2030, 1.2% of fuels must also be synthetic fuelsto reach 35% in 2050. Synthetic fuels, also called “ e-kerosenes » (made from CO2 and hydrogen produced by renewable energy), are made from captured CO2 emissions, which their supporters say balances the CO2 released when fuel burns in an engine.

For now, these fuels are produced in tiny quantities and are much more expensive than conventional aviation fuels. Sustainable fuel is seen as a way to start gradually reducing the carbon footprint of cairlines short term.

With this vote, Europe will also take the lead in the decarbonization of air transport. “This is the largest incorporation mandate in the world for SAF”specifies to Le Monde Matteo Mirolo, specialist in sustainable aviation within Transport & Environment (T&E).

Air France “welcomes the vote on the Refuel EU plan”, even if the airline has already set more ambitious goals. It already incorporates 1% of SAF since 2022 and plans “to incorporate at least 10% sustainable aviation fuel on all of its flights by 2030”. Measures that will costly. To incorporate 1% SAF into the tanks of its planes in 2022, Air France has already spent 100 million euros more. To reach 10% in 2030, the additional bill will amount to 1 billion euros, the company predicts.

Finally, the European Parliament provides provisions “anti-tankering” to prevent planes from refueling outside theEuropean Union with conventional kerosene, up to five times cheaper. The way “to avoid the risks of traffic transfers to non-European hubs not subject to these regulations, and of carbon leakage”as Air France fears.

John Walker Avatar