Airbus expects 100% sustainable jet fuel aircraft by the end of the decade

Aviation could face serious problems if the industry does not decarbonize in a timely manner. This opinion was expressed by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury in an interview with CNBC. In his opinion, hydrogen aircraft represent the “best solution” in the medium and long term.

Faury named a number of areas of Airbus activity for the coming years: first of all, the European aircraft manufacturer will strive to modernize its aircraft to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Airbus is currently certifying an airliner capable of using 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is obtained by converting biomass or inorganic components. The use of such fuels reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has a low carbon footprint.

The Airbus CEO believes that by the end of this decade, aircraft will be able to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel. In the future, the company will strive to bring a hydrogen aircraft to the market. He added that commercializing the technology will require a lot of engineering and research work, as well as significant capital investments.

Last week, the CEO of the International Air Transport Association, Willie Walsh, said that, subject to the provision of government support, the production of sustainable jet fuel will reach 7.9 billion liters per year by 2025, which will satisfy only 2% of the industry’s total fuel demand. By the middle of the century, according to the association’s estimates, production will grow to 449 billion liters, or 65% of the market’s needs. He noted that for passengers, this will translate into an increase in the cost of air tickets by about half due to the higher cost of fuel produced from renewable sources compared to traditional jet fuel.

Last October, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said there was no technology yet to replace traditional aviation. He noted that he does not expect hydrogen fuels to appear before 2030. In September 2020, Airbus presented the concepts of three passenger aircraft using liquid hydrogen instead of kerosene. The first commercial flights are scheduled for 2035.

Aviation is cited by environmentalists as one of the fastest growing contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. The World Wildlife Fund notes that this industry is the most carbon-intensive human activity. According to the Air Transport Action Group, in 2019 air travel accounted for 2% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (915 million out of 43 billion tons).

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