EU Rapid progress towards the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels

Exciting and rapid developments are currently underway in Europe towards the deployment of renewable energy and Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

At the end of March the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission finalised their interinstitutional negotiation – known as “trilogue” – around the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII). The final text includes an ambitious target of 42.5% renewable energy by 2030, which is a significant step towards the scale-up of renewable energy.

Additionally, the directive mandates a 14.5% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in EU transport, marking a major milestone also for the aviation sector.

While the final deal for carbon capture and utilisation (#CCU) fuels in transport fell short of the original proposal of a 2.6% target for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs), the final deal sets a joint target of 5.5% combining advanced biofuels and RFNBOs, with a 1% sub-target for RFNBOs. This represents a significant advancement in the ramp-up of CCU fuels in modes of transport such as aviation, maritime, and heavy-duty vehicles.

The final deal also sends an unprecedented signal on the use of green hydrogen and CCU fuels in industry, setting a target of 42% of hydrogen to be RFNBOs by 2030 and 60% by 2035, thereby providing a clear framework for investing in defossilisation efforts.

The final text must now be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

CCU fuels have a critical role to play in hard-to-electrify transport, and one of the most promising proposals in this regard is the ReFuelEU Aviation plan. Negotiations are currently underway to finalise by the end of April 2023 this groundbreaking initiative that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry by promoting the use of SAF.

The final numbers are still to be confirmed in the final text being negotiated, but in essence, the ReFuelEU Aviation would oblige:


  • Airlines would need to gradually increase the share of CCU fuels they use (from 0.7% in 2030 to 28% in 2050)


  • Airlines departing from EU airports to use sustainable fuels and refuel aircraft only with the fuel necessary for the flight to avoid emissions related to extra weight caused by fuelling  practices


  • EU airports guarantee the necessary infrastructure to deliver, store, and refuel with sustainable aviation fuels


SAF produced through the TAKE-OFF technology could significantly support the aviation industry in reducing its carbon footprint and replace the utilisation of crude jet fuel products while proving: a 25% increase in carbon and hydrogen efficiency compared to other PtL alternatives; 100% reduction of sulphur compared to fossil aviation fuel; 20% reduction of total emissions compared to other PtL alternatives; 36% decrease of SAF production costs compared to other PtL alternatives.

Read about the REDIII.

Read about ReFuelEU Aviation.


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