Eight companies in the UK have been shortlisted to receive a portion of a £15m investment to develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) under the country’s Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) competition.
The money is to be used to develop production plants across the UK converting waste into aviation fuel, with waste products trialled under the scheme including alcohol, household waste, and sewage.
The announcement was made on Friday, alongside proposals to further the UK’s SAF industry by increasing minimum sustainable aviation fuels requirements for suppliers. This would see the minimums rising from 10% by 2030 to 75% by 2050 – a significant jump as the country ramps up its aviation decarbonisation efforts. Efforts such as these are estimated to help save up to 23 megatons of CO2 per year by 2050.
Currently, the aviation industry is responsible for 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, and countries around the world have been setting their sights on lowering the sector’s carbon footprint. As fuels based on electric and hydrogen sources are not yet capable of powering long-haul passenger planes, development of the SAF industry is seen as the key to targeting industry emissions.
In a statement, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “SAF will play a vital role in decarbonising aviation, particularly for long-haul flights, where it is likely to be the most viable option in the coming decades for driving down net emissions.”
The GFGS competition was launched as part of the Prime Minister’s 10 point plan in March this year. It is hoped that with the right amount of investment, this blossoming industry could create between 5,000 and 11,000 jobs in the green sector, improve the country’s fuel security and generate between £700m and £1,660m in gross value add.
On the new investments, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Aviation will be central to our future growth and plans to build back greener from the pandemic, which is why we have invested over £20m in the past year to decarbonise the sector in line with our world-leading net zero targets.”
“With 100 days to go until COP26,” he adds, “we’re ramping up our efforts even further to help companies break ground on trailblazing waste to jet fuel plants and put the UK at the forefront of international SAF production.”