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United States releases roadmap to achieve carbon neutral aviation emissions

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WASHINGTON, 24th September, 2022 (WAM) — U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the release of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge Roadmap, a comprehensive plan that outlines a government-wide strategy for scaling up new technologies to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) across the U.S. airline industry.

A collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Aviation Administration, the roadmap will spur technological innovation to produce SAF, position the country as a global leader in the emerging SAF market, and enable America to meet President Biden’s clean energy goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“From field to flight, this data-driven technology strategy will help guide America’s scientists and industry to chart our course to clean skies,” said Secretary Granholm. “Not only is Sustainable Aviation Fuel critical to decarbonizing the airline industry and reaching our climate goals, but this plan will help American companies corner the market on a valuable emerging industry.”

U.S. commercial aviation currently consumes approximately 10% of all transportation energy and contributes 2% of the nation’s C02 emissions. SAF has the potential to deliver the performance of petroleum-based jet fuel but with a fraction of its carbon footprint emerging SAF pathways even have a net-negative GHG footprint. SAF can be made from renewable biomass and other resources, including corn grain, algae, agricultural and forestry residues, and municipal solid waste streams, and enough biomass can be collected sustainably each year in the United States to produce 50-60 billion gallons of low-carbon fuels. Growing, sourcing, and producing SAF from renewable and waste resources can also create new economic opportunities in agricultural and rural communities, improve the environment, and even boost aircraft performance.

“Today’s announcement charts out actions to ensure crops used for fuel that are grown here at home by hard-working Americans can create opportunities for American farmers, business owners and rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The SAF Grand Challenge Roadmap ensures alignment of government and industry actions and coordinates national policies to achieve the goals of the SAF Grand Challenge, which was signed in 2021 by the partnering agencies and consists of two major goals: Achieve a minimum of a 50% reduction in life GHG emissions compared to conventional fuel; and Supply sufficient SAF to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand by 2050.

The SAF Grand Challenge objectives include expanding SAF supply and end use, reducing its cost, and enhancing its sustainability. The roadmap also helps position the United States as an exporter of SAF technology and fuels to support other countries in their efforts to decarbonize aviation.

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