The aviation sector is recognised as a significant user of fossil fuels. Aviation energy demand accounts for about 11% of all transport energy and this could double or triple by 2050 (IEA, 2009). Rapid growth of aviation emissions is due to the increase of air traffic volumes for both passenger and freight, with aviation usually having the highest energy and GHG intensity of all transport modes. About 90% of fuel use and GHG emissions occur in flight, mostly at cruising altitude (TRB, 2009). Efficiency improvements can play an important role in reducing aviation energy use by 30 to 50% in future aircraft designs compared with 2005 models (IEA, 2009). These include improved aerodynamics, airframe weight reduction, higher engine efficiency, as well as improvements in operation and air traffic control management to give higher load factors, improved routing, and more efficient ground operations at airports (including gate electrification and use of low carbon-fuelled service vehicles).
Compared to other transport sectors, aviation has less potential for switching to lower carbon footprint fuels due to special fuel requirements. In terms of renewables energies, several airlines have already implemented test flights using various biofuel blends, however standards to allow greater biofuel blend fractions in conventional aviation fuel are currently under development. Industry and policy views on biofuels as a share of total aviation fuels by 2050 range from a few percent up to 30% (IEA, 2009). Sustainable alternative fuels are one of the most promising routes to achieve reductions in aviation’s CO2 emissions and the only appropriate replacement for fossil kerosene since there is no alternative for liquid fuels for the next decades to come.
The BIOREFLY project will accelerate the development of high-efficiency renewable energy production technologies by providing the best processing and engineering strategies to produce bio jet fuel. The use of lignin rich residues from biorefineries will guarantee the efficient utilisation of energy crops and agricultural residues. In this way the project will deliver a rapid breakthrough in the aviation sector.
References: IEA (2009). Transport, Energy and CO2 – Moving Towards Sustainability. International Energy Agency, France (ISBN 978-92-64-07316-6) TRB (2009). Modal Primer on Greenhouse Gas and Energy Issues for the Transportation Industry. Research Circular E-C143, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, USA (ISSN 0097-8515)
- IEA (2009). Transport, Energy and CO2 – Moving Towards Sustainability. International Energy Agency, France (ISBN 978-92-64-07316-6)
- TRB (2009). Modal Primer on Greenhouse Gas and Energy Issues for the Transportation Industry. Research Circular E-C143, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, USA (ISSN 0097-8515)