scorecardNew Indian sustainable jet fuel technology could cut aviation emissions by 80%
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New Indian sustainable jet fuel technology could cut aviation emissions by 80%

New Indian sustainable jet fuel technology could cut aviation emissions by 80%
SustainabilitySustainability2 min read
The world was up in flames just last month after delegates chose to use private jets as their preferred mode of transport to attend the COP27, ironically the world's most prominent climate conference. Nearly 400 planes allegedly landed in Egypt during the first week of November — an act that could produce six times more emissions than travel via commercial aeroplanes.

Despite the lousy rep flying gets for generating excessive greenhouse emissions, it is necessary for development. Let's face it, unless we develop some Aquaman-like powers to ship containers over the ocean, development will start bottlenecking worldwide. However, there is a solution to this, too: Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

SAF are biofuels made from waste materials and other sustainable feedstock. These help cut emissions by as much as 80% compared to traditional jet fuels — and this is just the beginning!

SAF technology has also been evolving at breakneck speeds over the past few years. Most recently, researchers from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a unique type of SAF that will literally pull CO2 out of the air to add wind under the plane's wings.

This fuel uses magnesium hydride, whose main minerals are much easier to source due to its abundance on Earth. In addition, this SAF enables long-range flights — something most SAF struggle with.

The SAF revolution has begun in India as well. Honeywell, a company with significant Indian presence, has managed to invent an ethanol-to-jet fuel processing technology that converts corn-based, cellulosic, or sugar-based ethanol into SAFs. The company claims this fuel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, and its modular property can enable rapid installation to speed up the transition process even more.

However, only about 0.01% of global jet fuel use has been replaced by SAF so far, which forms a significant energy transition bottleneck. India has taken many steps in this regard towards accelerating this transformation. For example, the International Air Transport Association — representing more than 83% of total air traffic — has estimated that SAF could account for up to 65% of total emission reductions by 2050.

Considering aviation accounts for about 2.5% of global greenhouse emissions (and growing), according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), this is, no doubt, the right time to turn over a greener wing.

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