Analysis of green jet fuel production in Europe

June 9, 2022

Why the EU can and should increase e-kerosene targets in ReFuelEU

Aircraft rely solely on fossil jet fuel to operate, leading to disastrous consequences for the planet and a dependency on imports from conflictual third countries. Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) offer a promising alternative that will help reduce aviation’s emissions. The EU has proposed to increase the amount of SAFs used in aircraft departing from the bloc through its ReFuelEU proposal. Blending mandates, where it is compulsory for all jet fuel supplied to EU airports to have a certain proportion of SAF, are currently being negotiated in the context of ReFuelEU Aviation.

There are many types of SAFs. Renewable e-kerosene, a synthetic fuel made of CO₂ (e.g. captured from the atmosphere) and green hydrogen, is the most sustainable SAF and holds one of the keys to aviation’s decarbonization. But e-kerosene production will need to be greatly increased to make a difference.

The ReFuelEU text includes a sub-target for synthetic aviation fuels, like e-kerosene, which constitutes a great opportunity to foster e-kerosene production in Europe. However, the sub-target proposal of 0.7% by 2030 made by the European Commission is too low to have an incentivising effect on the market.

In this study, we quantify the total e-kerosene production plans in Europe. We show that there will be 0.16 Mt of e-kerosene available in Europe by 2025, produced by 10 companies, and 1.83 Mt in 2030, produced by at least 18 manufacturers. However, those growth predictions are highly reliant on favourable political conditions. Blending mandates at EU level need to be set high enough to support market ramp-up.

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