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UK will mandate 10% of jet fuel mix to be sustainable aviation fuel by 2030

The United Kingdom government declared that it has verified its intention to require a minimum of 10% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the country’s jet fuel blend by 2030.

Emissions from the aviation sector are mostly caused by fuel. SAF is considered one of the most important instruments to assist in the near- to medium-term decarbonization of the aviation sector. It is often created from sustainable resources, such as waste oils and agricultural wastes. According to SAF manufacturers, compared to conventional fuels, the fuels can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85%.

The limited quantity of SAF on the market right now and its high cost compared to traditional fossil fuels pose serious obstacles to any attempts to significantly boost its usage by airplanes. Currently, fewer than 0.1% of jet fuel volumes worldwide are represented by SAF.

The government’s sustainable aviation fuel mandate, which is awaiting legislative approval, includes the recent statement made in the UK. It is scheduled to take effect in January 2025. The directive comes after the government unveiled its “Jet Zero” strategy in 2022, which aims to achieve a net zero emissions aviation sector by 2050. The strategy identified priority action areas, such as creating carbon markets and emissions removal technologies to help offset residual emissions, as well as accelerating the supply and demand of SAF and enhancing the efficiency of aircraft, airports, and airspace.

The UK Department for Transport estimates that the government’s aims would result in the annual supply of 1.2 million tonnes of SAF to the UK aircraft sector, which is expected to generate over 10,000 jobs and contribute over £1.8 billion to the economy.

The plan’s interim and long-term SAF objectives call for 2% and 22% of SAF in the fuel mix, respectively, by 2025 and 2040.

The government also stated that a review process is included in the plan to assist control pricing and lessen the impact on passenger ticket prices. This is done to guarantee that the plan does not come at the expense of customers.

The government also announced the beginning of a consultation into a number of options for a SAF revenue certainty scheme, which aims to guarantee SAF revenue and give producers and investors confidence to invest in the industry. The consultation includes a preferred option of a guaranteed strike price, or a pre-agreed price of SAF supplied to the UK market. These announcements were made in addition to the new mandate.