This article originally appeared on Aviation Week.
With the worst of the pandemic downturn hopefully in the rearview mirror, commercial aviation must now move on to face its greatest challenge yet: How to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Governments are making commitments to incentivize sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)—Europe, through February’s “Toulouse Declaration,” and the U.S., with the Biden administration’s aim to have enough SAF to meet 5-10% of jet fuel demand by 2030 and 100% by 2050, including through tax credits. A growing list of nations, industry associations, airlines and manufacturers have voiced their intentions, positioning SAF to play a key role in achieving net zero.
Although still in its infancy for adoption, SAF has generated excitement as an attractive “bridge” to future technologies that may eventually include zero-emission aircraft. While SAF produces carbon emissions, many feedstocks are considered largely carbon-neutral as they “catch and release” already emitted CO2. eFuels are especially promising, given their potential to reduce life-cycle emissions by 90% compared with Jet A when combined with renewable sources of electricity and CO2.