70% of fuels at airports must be sustainable by 2050, rules EU

posted on 14th September 2023 by William Hallowell
EU flags fly outside the European Parliament

EU lawmakers yesterday approved new rules requiring airlines to use more sustainable fuels across the bloc in a bid to reach the aviation industry’s green goals.

With the global aviation industry aiming to be carbon neutral, or net-zero, by the year 2050, the European Union has introduced binding fuel targets.

The targets aim to increase both supply and demand for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which have net-zero carbon emissions or lower carbon emissions than the fossil fuel kerosene.

Fuel suppliers will now have to ensure that 2 per cent of fuel made available at EU airports is SAF by 2025, rising to 6 per cent by 2030, 20 per cent by 2035 and to 70 per cent by 2050.

The Parliament said that sustainable fuels will include “synthetic fuels, certain biofuels produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, used cooking oil or certain animal fats”.

This proposed legislation is part of the EU ’s ‘Fit for 55’ package, which sets a goal of cutting emissions of the gases that cause global warming by at least 55 per cent by 2030.

Airlines for Europe, the EU’s largest airline association, said: “The five leading European aviation associations representing Europe’s airlines, airports, civil aeronautics industry and air navigation service providers … welcome the adoption of the refuel EU Aviation Regulation and look forward to further SAF deployment globally.”

Sustainable fuel is considered across the aviation sector to be the way forward for decarbonisation.

Renew Europe, a political group of the European Parliament, celebrated the “ambitious” and “credible” legislation.

José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, Spanish MEP, said: “Renew Europe Group has been crucial in defending the development and the ambitious level of production of sustainable aviation fuels across the EU while creating a level playing field through wide harmonised rules and preserving the EU air connectivity.

“With ReFuelEU Aviation in place, the decarbonisation of aviation is nearer. It is time now for EU governments to implement the new rules and support to the industry by ensuring the cost-effective deployment of sustainable aviation fuel across Europe.”

He added that “the EU must be ready to take the lead globally in the use of SAF”.

Image credit: Guillaume Périgois/Unsplash