Biofuel initiatives target carbon dioxide emissions

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set three goals for mitigating CO2 emissions.[1]

  • Improve aviation fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020
  • Achieve carbon-neutral growth in the industry by 2020
  • By 2050, reduce net aviation CO2 emissions to half of what they were in 2005.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has been identified as an essential CO2 emissions mitigation strategy. SAF are the only low-carbon aviation fuels available in the short to mid-term.[2]

A Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) has, since 2008, aimed to accelerate development and use of SAF. It describes those fuels as:

  • Having minimal impact on biodiversity
  • Using land, water, and energy resources sustainably
  • Not displacing or competing with food crops
  • Providing a positive socioeconomic impact
  • Not requiring any special fuel handling equipment, distribution systems, or engine design changes

Cathay Pacific, FedEx Express, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Qantas, and United, have forward-purchased 1.5 billion gallons of SAF. Airports in Oslo, Stockholm, Brisbane and Los Angeles are already mixing sustainable fuels with the general fuel supply. Estimating based on current growth trends, as many as half a billion passengers will have flown on a SAF-blend powered flight by 2025 [3]


JetBlue A321

  • JetBlue A321 Aircraft

    This fall, JetBlue received the first of five Airbus A321 aircraft. On the delivery flight, Airbus used 15% sustainable fuels blended with traditional jet fuel[4]

  • Virgin Atlantic sustainable fuel flight

    A Boeing 747 flight from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick Airport (LGW) last October was the first use of advanced 5% biofuel in commercial aviation.[5]

  • United Airlines commitment

    United says it has sourced more than 2 million gallons of sustainable aviation biofuel since 2016. [6]
    The airline committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2050. Expanded use of biofuels is a key strategy, along with Fuel conservation measures and more fuel-efficient aircraft.

  • DFW/Neste partnership

    Neste — an oil products, renewable products, marketing and services company[7]— has announced a partnership with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Through this partnership, use of renewable aviation fuel and other sustainability opportunities will be explored. Logistics and supply chain strategies for potential renewable fuel supply will also be considered.

  • Norway’s advanced biofuel mandate

    Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment will require aviation fuel to contain at least 0.5 percent biofuel starting in 2020. That fuel must be made from waste and residues, not palm oil. [8]



Biofuels for Aviation, a technology brief is available for download from The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) website. IRENA[9] is an intergovernmental organization with offices in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and the U.S.

As countries transition to a sustainable future, IRENA provides a repository of renewable energy policy, technical and financial knowledge. The organization encourages renewable energy investment and the development of clean energy policies.

In its 52-pages, the Technology Brief[10] includes insights for policymakers and descriptions of aviation biofuel technical developments, along with performance and cost information. The potential for and barriers against bio-jet production and consumption are also discussed.

[1] International Air Transport Association (IATA)
[3] Press Release
[5] iNews: The Essential Daily Briefing[6] — Next Generation Transportation News
[9] International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life.
The WELL Building Standard and Fitwel certification programs respond to today’s need for buildings designed and mai… - 4 days ago
Alexa Stone

You may also like...

Leave a Reply