EU airports target 70% green jet fuels by 2050

01 Sep 2023

The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have given their approval to a new law aimed at increasing the use of sustainable fuels in the aviation sector. This law, known as the RefuelEU aviation rules, is a component of the ‘Fit for 55 package,’ which is the European Union's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 55% by 2030, as compared to the levels in 1990. The ultimate goal is for the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. These rules are designed to incentivise the aviation industry to adopt sustainable aviation fuels as a means of reducing emissions.

MEPs have set forth an ambitious timeline for the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels. They have mandated that EU airports and fuel suppliers ensure that, beginning in 2025, at least 2% of aviation fuels are environmentally friendly, with this percentage increasing every five years: 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035, 34% in 2040, 42% in 2045, and a substantial 70% by 2050. Additionally, a specific portion of the fuel mix, starting at 1.2% in 2030, 2% in 2032, 5% in 2035, and gradually reaching 35% in 2050, must consist of synthetic fuels such as e-kerosene.

Under the new regulations, the term 'sustainable aviation fuels' will encompass synthetic fuels, specific biofuels produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, used cooking oil, or certain animal fats. Recycled jet fuels generated from waste gases and waste plastic will also be regarded as environmentally friendly.

MEPs have taken steps to ensure that fuels derived from feed and food crops, as well as fuels produced from palm and soy materials, do not qualify as sustainable, as they fail to meet the sustainability criteria. They have also succeeded in incorporating renewable hydrogen into the sustainable fuel mix. This inclusion represents a promising technology that could gradually contribute to the decarbonisation of air transportation.

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