Sustainable Aviation Fuels: Common Ground for a Take-off

Eleanor Mateo

Aviation biofuels remain a controversial topic. An analysis of stakeholder views reveals, however, that there is considerable common ground on the two central issues in short to medium term: sustainability and commercialisation. Stakeholders generally agree that sustainability must be based on objective, transparent and clearly defined criteria that demonstrate the environmental advantages of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) over fossil fuels. The measurement of impacts should use verified life-cycle analyses (LCA) throughout the supply chain. Sustainability standards should be strict, yet they should not be so rigid as to prevent the commercialisation of SAF, and they need to be tightened as the market evolves. For the commercialisation of SAF, the stakeholders reckon that the infrastructure and marketing models already exist: the remaining hurdle is the price gap between conventional fossil fuels and SAF. Active policies that include commercial and regulatory incentives are required to make sustainable aviation fuels competitive, and for the market to take off.