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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

MEPs adopt ‘green’ SAF rules

MEPs adopt ‘green’ SAF rules
MEPs adopt RefuelEU aviation rules obliging EU airports and fuel suppliers to ensure that, starting from 2025, at least 2 percent of aviation fuels will be ‘green’ sustainable aviation fuels.

The European Parliament (EP) has formally approved a new law to increase the uptake of sustainable fuels, such as advanced biofuels or hydrogen, in the aviation sector. The new rules on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) were adopted on September 13, 2023, with 518 votes in favour, 97 votes against, and eight abstentions.

The adopted RefuelEU aviation rules are part of the “Fit for 55 package”, the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to ensure the EU becomes climate neutral by 2050.

RefuelEU aviation seeks to encourage the aviation sector to use sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) as a means to cut GHG emissions.

Defining a ‘green’ sustainable aviation fuel

According to the new rules, the term ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ (SAF) will include synthetic fuels, certain biofuels produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, used cooking oil (UCO), or certain animal fats.

Recycled jet fuels produced from waste gases and waste plastic are also considered ‘green’.

However, “feed and food crop-based fuels” and fuels derived from palm- and soy materials will not be classified as green as according to MEPs, they do not meet the sustainability criteria.

Renewable hydrogen has been included as part of a sustainable fuel mix which MEPs see as “a promising technology that could progressively contribute to the decarbonization of air transport.”

Ambitious timeline

MEPs approved an ambitious timeline for the provision of the jet fuel blend, obliging EU airports and fuel suppliers to ensure that, starting from 2025, at least 2 percent of aviation fuels will be green, with this share increasing every five years: 6 percent in 2030, 20 percent in 2035, 34 percent in 2040, 42 percent in 2045 and 70 percent in 2050.

In addition, a specific proportion of the fuel mix (1.2 percent in 2030, 2 percent in 2032, 5 percent in 2035 and progressively reaching 35 percent in 2050) must comprise synthetic fuels like e-kerosene.

New flight label

To promote decarbonizing in the aviation sector and to better inform the public, MEPs approved the introduction of an EU label for the environmental performance of flights from 2025.

Airlines will be able to market their flights with a label indicating the expected carbon footprint per passenger and the expected carbon dioxide (CO2) efficiency per kilometre.

这将使乘客比较环境mental performance of flights operated by different companies on the same route.

This is a tremendous step towards the decarbonization of aviation. It is now time for EU governments to implement the new rules and support the industry to ensure the cost-effective deployment of Sustainable Aviation Fuels across Europe as well as meeting EU targets. There is no time to lose. In a complex and competitive world, I fully believe that ReFuelEU is a great opportunity to position the European Union as a global leader in the production and use of SAF, commented rapporteur José Ramón Bauzá Díaz (Renew, ES).

Once the Council has approved them, new rules will apply as of January 1, 2024, and some provisions as of January 1, 2025.

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