The aviation sector accounts for 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, emissions produced by the sector are expected to increase by three to six times. In his doctoral thesis, PhD candidate Sierk de Jong argues that we can limit a large part of this growth by using biojet fuels, if we produce the fuel sustainably, develop new production technologies and introduce adequate policy incentives. De Jong also makes recommendations for policymakers and the aviation sector. De Jong will defend his doctoral thesis in the University Hall of Utrecht University on 15 June at 4.15 pm.
Air traffic is responsible for 1.5% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. In order to limit global warming to two degrees, as agreed upon in the Paris Agreement, emissions will need to be 40% to 70% lower in 2050 than in 2010. In the same period however, emissions from the aviation sector are expected to increase by three to six times. While the use of biojet fuel remains the best technological alternative to help structurally reduce the emissions of the aviation sector, they are currently sparsely used.
PhD candidate Sierk de Jong quantified the future production of biojet fuels and calculated the corresponding emission reductions, focusing primarily on production costs and environmental impact. “At the moment, it costs two to three times more to produce biojet fuels than it does to produce fossil jet fuel. However, by gaining more experience, using new production technologies and optimising the production chains, we can cut the cost of biojet fuels by nearly half in the coming decade,” he explains. “By taking this approach we can increase the use of biojet fuels in Europe to 4 to 6* million tonnes by 2030 for just a few extra euros per passenger – sufficient to neutralise almost three-quarters of the forecast growth in emissions in the sector.”