Roundtable on the future of the ReFuel EU Aviation Regulation: Aligning policy with the aviation industry
To mitigate climate change, the priority is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to replace fossil-based products by implementing carbon circularity to generate essential everyday goods and services.
Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) technologies capture carbon either from the atmosphere or from industrial plants and convert it into essential carbon-based products such as sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). This can result in significant reductions in CO2 emissions and it can be especially useful for those sectors such as aviation, where more conventional mitigation options (e.g. electrification) are difficult to implement.
In this context, a substantial part of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) could be produced by using CCU technology pathways. Such synthetic fuels would therefore replace a portion of fossil jet fuels significantly reducing aviation’s carbon footprint. Consequently, in October 2023, the European Union finally adopted the ReFuel EU Aviation Regulation, marking a significant step towards a more environmentally conscious and sustainable Europe.
The new regulation includes mandatory shares of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) to be available at airports, starting at 2% of overall fuel supplied by 2025 and reaching 70% by 2050. It also includes mandatory sub-quotas for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) of 1.2% in 2030 to 35% in 2050. The deal also introduces the scope of eligible fuels considered under the SAF definition (including recycled carbon fuels and non-fossil low-carbon fuels). This move is a crucial part of the ‘Fit-for-55’ package, aligned with the EU’s commitment to a 55% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030. In addition, new adopted rules around Emissions Trading System (ETS) aviation will also frontload revenues from the ETS system to support the uptake of SAFs by aircraft operators. However, many questions remain open and there is a shared feeling among experts and industrial stakeholders to consider this regulatory framework as a first step that will need to be substantially updated in the near future.
To address these questions and ensure a sustainable and efficient future for global aviation, it is essential for policymakers, the aviation sector, fuel producers, as well as airport operators, to come together in a roundtable discussion.
Our roundtable, co-organised by the TAKE-OFF project and CO2 Value Europe, will then serve as a platform for an open dialogue between these crucial stakeholders on how to accomplish the goals of the new regulation. The event will also analyze what is expected from the EU to contribute to the effective implementation of the regulation and identify channels of cooperation to further support each other’s efforts.
The EU-funded TAKE-OFF project plans to develop a next-generation Power-to-SAF process which converts renewable hydrogen and captured CO2 to a class of hydrocarbons called light olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, which then need to be subsequently converted into the final jet fuel through further reactions.
Find the agenda here.
Participation in the Roundtable is by invitation only. Please do not hesitate to email Antonio La Mantia at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.