EU Airports Mandate 70% of Jet Fuels Are Green by 2050 - Smart Energy Decisions

Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  September 18, 2023

EU Parliament Passes New Law to Increase Use of SAF

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved a new law to increase the uptake of sustainable fuels such as advanced biofuels or hydrogen in the aviation sector.

The new law mandates that 2% of jet fuel must be sustainable as of 2025 and 70% by 2050.

Energy sources such as hydrogen and fuel produced from used cooking oil are considered green.

The RefuelEU aviation rules are part of the "Fit for 55 package," the EU’s plan to lower GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to ensure the EU becomes climate neutral by 2050. 

The rules seek to encourage the aviation sector to use sustainable aviation fuels in order to cut emissions.

The MEP’s timeline on the provision of the jet fuel mix is obliging EU airports and fuel suppliers to ensure that starting from 2025 at least 2% of aviation fuels will be green. This share is increasing every five years to 6% in 2030, 20% in 2035, 34% in 2040, 42% in 2045 and 70% in 2050. In addition, a specific proportion of the fuel mix — 1.2% in 2030, 2% in 2032, 5% in 2035 and progressively reaching 35% in 2050 — must comprise synthetic fuels like e-kerosene.

The new rules state that the term "sustainable aviation fuels" will include synthetic fuels, certain biofuels produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, used cooking oil or certain animal fats. Recycled jet fuels produced from waste gasses and waste plastic are also considered "green." Renewable hydrogen was included as part of a sustainable fuel mix, a promising technology that could progressively contribute to the decarbonization of air transport.

MEPs ensured that feed and food crop-based fuels and fuels derived from palm and soy materials will not be classified as green as they do not meet the sustainability criteria.

The MEPs ensured that as of 2025 there will be an EU label for the environmental performance of flights. Airlines will be able to market their flights with a label indicating the expected carbon footprint per passenger and the expected CO2 efficiency per kilometer. 

“This is a tremendous step towards the decarbonization of aviation,” said Parliament’s rapporteur José Ramón Bauzá Díaz (Renew, ES) in a statement. “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.ʺ

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

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