Aviation accounts for only 2% of global CO2 emissions today. However, this could rise to as much as 5% by 2050 due to aviation’s rapid growth against forecasted carbon reductions in other industry sectors. While 5% doesn’t sound like a lot, aviation emissions are at high altitudes where the earth’s atmosphere is especially sensitive to combustion emissions. This is known to magnify the effect of the sun’s rays on the earth contributing to global warming. Electrification of commercial aircraft is expected to come in a few decades or beyond. It’s clear that something needs to be done quickly to curb the effects of GHG emissions from the aviation sector. What can we do now?
Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) represents the best way to reduce impact in a short timeframe. A blend of 30% SAF in a jet fuel leads to a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions on a life-cycle basis according to United Airlines, the world’s largest SAF user today. Airlines will soon provide greater transparency about environmental effects under a UN deal designed to help the aviation industry reach its “aspirational goal” to make all growth in international flights after 2020 “carbon neutral”. Along with purchased carbon credits, SAF will play a major part in this reduction effort and will be critical to meeting national level climate change goals.
The feasibility of SAF supply is dependent on the commercial availability of sufficient and suitable feedstock sourced from a catchment area around a production facility. It is clear that by definition the production of biofuels for aviation is not sustainable unless criteria are applied to ensure positive environmental and socio-economic impacts throughout the entire supply chain and lifecycle of the fuel. This applies to the feedstock production, handling, delivery and conversion processes. The most viable SAF production pathways today use waste streams from urban, agricultural and forestry areas thus addressing the challenge of global warming as well as waste management.
Refuel Energy Inc. is planning a renewable fuel production facility (Refuel YYZ) for the Toronto area and expects to be in operation in 2024.
Refuel YYZ will produce renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel at prices competitive with conventional fossil fuels available today. Over time, we expect our fuel prices to be lower than fossil fuel prices, making Refuel products a great option for customers who are interested in both reduced costs and cleaner air! These fuels will reduce emissions by an estimated 80% compared to fuels used today. This will be a significant step toward meeting our emissions objectives in the short term while new technology is commercialized to get us to zero-emissions in the future.
The Refuel YYZ facility will create many jobs and other economic benefits in the Toronto area.
We are excited to take this concept to new locations and develop additional projects in Canada and the U.S.!