A Sudden Rush to Make Sustainable Aviation Fuel Mainstream
Author: David Gelles
A flurry of investments, policy changes and technological breakthroughs is giving a jolt of energy to the nascent market for sustainable aviation fuel, a low-carbon alternative to traditional jet fuel made from crude oil. United Airlines and other companies stad a $100 million venture capital fund on February 20, 2023 to invest in the technology. Boeing said last week that it was doubling its use of sustainable fuel this year. New laws in Europe and the United States are designed to spur investment in the market. And after years of false starts, a handful of start-ups are receiving an influx of funding and expanding operations. Sustainable aviation fuel is made from used cooking oil and agricultural waste. It produces up to 80 percent fewer planet-warming emissions than conventional jet fuel, according to some estimates. It is currently blended with fossil jet fuel, but the hope is that planes could eventually be powered exclusively with the alternative fuel. While advances have been made in electric planes, battery weight remains a problem for large aircraft. Sustainable jet fuel is seen by many as the most promising way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector, which contributes more than 2 percent to global emissions each year, according to the International Energy Agency.