SAF takes center stage at Paris Air Show

Extending from June 19-25, the world’s largest air show takes place in Paris, France. Stealing spotlight from aerospace technology was a new and improved aviation fuel.

What makes it different is that it is sustainable.

What’s happening?

The premier global air exhibition, the Paris Air Show, is typically held every two years but was disrupted by COVID-19. It makes its first return in four years, uniting the aerospace sector to assess innovative advancements and forge significant business agreements.

Emphasizing emission reduction as a primary focus, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) have emerged as the leading viable remedy. The aviation industry is widely regarded as one of the most challenging sectors to make more environmentally friendly, as it is expected to take over a decade before zero-emission aircraft become a reality.

As airlines scramble to meet the surge in demand and contribute to the industry’s net zero emissions target by 2050, aircraft manufacturers arrived with soaring demand forecasts to fulfill capacity requirements.

While airlines try to increase capacity, French airlines are dedicating their time to sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). On June 16, President Emmanuel Macron announced that, in effort to make the aviation industry in France and Europe more environmentally friendly, a 200 million euro investment would be made for the advancement of SAFs in France.

TotalEnergies released on June 19 that its company is committed to the production of SAFs, including over 700 million euro in investments.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TotalEnergies, stated, “TotalEnergies is taking action to meet the strong demand from the aviation industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Sustainable aviation fuel is essential to reducing the CO2 emissions of air transport, and its development is fully aligned with the company’s climate ambition to get to net zero by 2050, together with society.”

The press release also stated, “Beyond France, TotalEnergies aims to produce 1.5 million tons/y of SAF by 2030 at production units in Europe, the United States, Japan and South Korea, representing 10% of the world market by that date.”

What is SAF, and what will it do?

SAFs are usually made from sources such as municipal waste, leftovers from the agricultural and forestry industry, crops and plants, and even hydrogen.

LanzaTech already converts captured carbon dioxide into biofuel using bacteria, and Velocys recently won a £27 million grant from the British government to convert household trash into SAF. Bio.News reported on the recent discovery of the Rolls-Royce and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. business jet entirely powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

SAFs drop into standard jet engines and can lower emissions by 80% compared to conventional jet fuel. SAF also achieves carbon neutrality by only releasing carbon that was captured by organic materials during their lifespan, whereas fossil fuels release carbon that was stored for millions of years.

The U.S. is seeking SAF production of 3 billion gallons annually by 2030 through the SAF Grand Challenge, and the Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits for SAF.

To learn more, listen to the I am BIO podcast episode “Green Fuels Have Taken Off.”

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