Press releases

Towards a global standard for sustainable alternative aviation fuels

Published: 30/08/2016

Berlin/London, 30 August 2016 – Alternative aviation fuels are an important means to reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aviation, provided that these fuels are produced in a sustainable manner. Ecofys proposes a roadmap for the development of a Meta-standard for sustainable alternative aviation fuels that could be recognised under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposed global market based measure (GMBM). It builds upon existing sustainability standards to facilitate a common understanding of sustainability. The work was carried out on behalf of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Before a global sustainability standard can be established for alternative aviation fuels, there has to be a consensus on sustainability criteria. Ecofys has considered sustainability ambition levels in the aviation industry, and reviewed existing regulatory and voluntary standards to produce a set of principles and criteria for a potential Meta-standard. Ecofys suggests a three tiered Meta-standard to reflect different levels of sustainability ambition: The minimum required Sustainable Jet Fuel level sets criteria covering carbon stock and biodiversity protection, GHG emissions and additional environmental criteria (e.g. soil conservation, sustainable water use and air quality). Additional criteria (e.g. indirect land use change and social criteria) are suggested for the voluntary “Sustainable Jet Fuel Plus” and “Sustainable Jet Fuel Premium” levels.

Within the research, Ecofys also presents a possible roadmap for the development of the Meta-standard under an ICAO GMBM.

“Without standards, the integrity of any product or system is weakened, and with the increasing use of sustainable aviation fuels, the understanding of what is sustainable must be consistent throughout the world. It is increasingly important that the global policy on sustainability standards be aligned and for sustainable aviation fuels to have common metrics”, says Michael Gill, Director Aviation Environment IATA.

The publication of this study aims to provide stakeholders with relevant insights which may serve as useful inputs and contribute to ongoing discussions within ICAO and the airline industry in the lead up to the ICAO General Assembly session in September 2016.

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Ecofys – Experts in Energy

Established in 1984 with the mission of achieving “sustainable energy for everyone”, Ecofys has become the leading expert in energy policies, climate strategies and policies, energy systems and markets, urban energy as well as sustainable industries and services. The unique synergy between those areas of expertise is the key to its success. Ecofys creates smart, effective, practical and sustainable solutions for and with public and corporate clients all over the world. With offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Ecofys employs over 200 experts dedicated to solving energy and climate challenges.           
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