Aeroplane.

Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation Fuels

With emissions reduction and fuel security in mind, Australia and New Zealand’s main aviation players approached CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship to work collaboratively on a study that would help plan a sustainable future for aviation fuels.

  • 23 May 2011 | Updated 14 October 2011

Background

Aviation is fundamental to our way of life and national economy, connecting our people and businesses to each other and the world.

At the same time the aviation industry accounts for two per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions and the industry currently relies on fossil fuels.

Sustainable jet fuels derived from biomass (plants, trees, algae, waste and other organic matter bio-oils) offer the largest single opportunity to reduce emissions while ensuring long term fuel security for the sector.

This world-first study brought together representatives from the Australian and New Zealand aviation industry in 2010, with the study culminating in May 2011 with the release of the report, 

Outcomes

The Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation report, makes a compelling case for a new Australian and New Zealand bio-derived jet fuel industry that over the next 20 years could:

  • generate more than 12 000 jobs
  • reduce Australia’s reliance on fuel imports by A$2 billion per annum
  • decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent in the aviation sector. 
    The report identified several key challenges and opportunities for the new industry.

Although Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation does not make policy recommendations, the study provides critical input to strategic policy and investment decision making for both the study participants and other stakeholders such as government and industry.

The report identified several key challenges and opportunities for the new industry:

  • sustainable aviation fuels derived from biomass are a feasible option
  • there is sufficient existing sustainable biomass to support a local bio-derived jet fuel industry
  • the region is strongly positioned to produce sustainable aviation fuels
  • there will be challenges in the scale-up of economically viable feedstock production
  • there will be high demand among industries for biofuels
  • investment by the refining sector will be impacted by uncertainty
  • aviation fuel distribution infrastructure will not require significant modification, however access arrangements for bio-derived jet fuel suppliers will need to be established
  • a local production industry for sustainable aviation fuels will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits.

Partners

Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation Fuels participants include:

  • Air New Zealand 
  • Qantas
  • Virgin Australia
  • Boeing
  • Airbus
  • Defence Science and Technology Organisation
  • Biofuels Association of Australia
  • Brisbane Airport
  • Caltex
  • GE
  • Macquarie
  • Office of Trade, Business & Industry, NSW Government
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Rolls-Royce
  • The Climate Group
  • Honeywell UOP.

Read the Flight path to sustainable aviation report and technical information at Sustainable Aviation Fuels Road Map: Data assumptions and modelling or find out more about the Future Fuels Forum, a similar initiative undertaken by the Energy Transformed Flagship.