Airlines & sustainability: Pledge to use 10% of alternative fuels a bold commitment - WRAL Tech Wire

More than 50 airlines, oil companies and other companies, including Delta, BP and Boeing, have pledgedto replace 10% of global jet fuel supply with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030.

It is one of the boldest commitments yet to tackle the environmental impact of air travel and will require an exponential increase in the production of SAF, which currently accounts for only 0.1% of jet fuel used in commercial aviation.

Produced mainly from recycled food and agricultural waste, such as used cooking oil, SAF is a type of biofuel that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to conventional jet fuel, and is viewed as critical to reducing aviation’s fast-rising carbon emissions.

Given that electric and hydrogen-powered planes won’t be available for at least another decade, even for short-haul flights, SAF “holds one of the most important keys to decarbonizing aviation,” said Matteo Mirolo, aviation policy officer at Transport & Environment, a green campaign group in Europe.

But SAF’s green credentials come at a hefty price, and it’s in very short supply. That’s what makes Wednesday’s announcement from the “Clean Skies for Tomorrow” coalition so ambitious. Other signatories include Airbus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Shell.

SAF currently costs between two and eight times more than its fossil fuel-based alternative.

In 2019, fewer than 200,000 metric tons were produced globally — less than 0.1% of the roughly 300 million...

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