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SAE Brasil 2023: Everything about Sustainable Aviation Fuel. In the world and in Brazil.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Today we conclude a series of articles about panels from the 30th edition of the SAE BRASIL International Mobility Congress and Exhibition.

The previous ones were highly appreciated by our readers:

In this 3rd article we will discuss the panel "Flying green with sustainable fuels", mediated by Dany Oliveira, Brazil Director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and with representatives from Azul, LATAM and Gol.

The biggest challenge for the aviation sector is to grow sustainably. If in 2021 the number of passengers globally transported was 2.1 billion, for 2023 the projection is 4.7 billion, reaching 10 billion in 2050. This would mean the need to eliminate 21.2 billion tons of CO2 in that same period. In other words, a major effort to end dependence on fossil fuels.

According to IATA, the efforts would be allocated as follows:

65% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF);

19% on CO2 capture and compensation;

13% new technologies; and

3% in operational and infrastructure improvements.

But what is SAF?

Basically an "identical" economic alternative to kerosene which, in addition to the sustainability criteria, meets the technical and certification requirements for use in commercial aircrafts.

You may be surprised with the following information:

- already 15 years of work developing SAF;

- liquid fuel that reduces CO2 emissions by up to 80%;

- produced from various sources such as recycling oils, effluents, solid waste and biomass, among others;

- through 9 technological routes already certified;

- with current production of 300 million liters per year (0.1% of what is needed);

- which were consumed in around 490 thousand flights;

- and future purchase contracts already reaching US$40 billion.

There is even a bill in Brazil, PL 4516 from 2023 which in its article 10 indicates that "From 2027, air operators are obliged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its domestic operations through the use of SAF", ranging from a minimum of 1% in 2027 to 10% in 2037. A few days ago we posted more about this and other bills.

With the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 75%, SAF currently costs 4 times more than aviation kerosene.

According to Day, the estimated cost for the aviation energy transition is around US$ 5 trillion by 2050.

On the other hand, this value would represent a tiny fraction when compared to the annual total in fossil fuel subsidies. According to the IMF, fossil fuel subsidies were US$7 triillion, equivalent to 7.1% of GDP only in 2022, globally. See also this graph from GZERO Media.

Click on the image below for IATA's decarbonization information hub about the aviation industry, kindly shared with us by IATA's Dany Oliveira. Includes a series of "Fact Sheets", with emphasis to the one on Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

(note) Last November 9th we were at AMCHAM São Paulo, ECO 40th Anniversary Awards Ceremony. And as AMBIPAR was one of the winners, we received a nice little bag with sustainable biocapsules, the one mentioned in our October 24 article. With Embaúba seeds (Cecropia pachystachya).


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty”

Madame Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) Chemist & physicist. French, born Polish.

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