A new report from think-tank Policy Exchange claims that the deployment of sustainable bio-jet fuels would result in emission reductions worth £37.41bn in the UK between 2020 and 2050, as well as making a significant contribution to meeting the UK’s 2050 emission reduction target.
‘Green Skies Thinking’ recommends the setting of achievable and enforceable targets for replacing standard kerosene jet fuel with bio-jet fuel from 2020, through the implementation of an EU-wide Sustainable Bio-Jet Fuel Blending Mandate.
This Mandate, which the author’s argue should be should be introduced from 2020, should state that the proportion of jet fuel derived from or blended with sustainable bio-jet fuel should rise from 20 per cent in 2020 to 80 per cent in 2050.
This, the report claims, would result in reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the UK and EU aviation sectors of 15 per cent in 2020 and 60 per cent in 2050 relative to current predictions.
Ben Caldecott, author of the report and head of Policy Exchange’s Energy and Environment Unit, said: ‘If left unchecked, emissions from aviation are set to account for up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We do need to look at reducing demand for flights, but switching from standard jet fuel to sustainable bio-jet fuel is currently the only viable option to significantly reduce emissions from the flights that remain.’
The report also argues that, in the UK, we should increase support for companies conducting R&D into the production of sustainable bio-jet fuels. It says that the government’s current R&D tax credit regime should be extended for companies that conduct research into sustainable bio-jet fuels in the UK.
It proposes that these companies be allowed to claim an additional 40 per cent of eligible R&D spend against their taxable profits. The introduction of this additional support is estimated to cost less than £5m per annum and would make the UK one of the most supportive tax regimes for sustainable bio-jet fuel R&D in the world.
Matthew Knowles, spokesman for the Society of British Aerospace Companies, agreed that the use of such fuels could make a significant contribution to reducing emissions from aviation, currently standing at around two per cent of global man-made CO2 emissions.
But, he added, alternative fuels are not the whole solution to reducing aviation’s impact on the environment, but one of a basket of measures that need to be taken, citing new aircraft design, use of new materials and engines as well as better use of new air-traffic management systems as also influential to reducing carbon emissions.
A copy of the Green Skies Thinking report is available here.