New Biofuel in Aviation

Climate change is being tackled in different ways all over the world, transport being one of the major hurdles to overcome when it comes to greenhouse gasses. Now experts are looking to the skies to tackle climate change and have come up with a solution to the problem of planes releasing toxic chemicals into the air.  Planes in Europe, it is hoped, could run on a mix of vegetable oil and animal fat mixed with kerosene.  

The planes will start to run off the new fuel which has been tested in aircrafts since 2011. The test results were good: Matti Lievonon, the CEO of Neste commented: “It worked amazingly well.” The new fuel doesn’t make a difference to the performance of the plane and it is said that passengers should not notice the difference when the fuel is used, in fact if anything, it has been proven that the planes performance is improved slightly. 

The company leading the success of this new bio-fuel is Neste, a Finnish company specialising in the aviation industry. Their fuel is not only suitable for planes but could also be used in cars. They claim the fuel emits 40% less harmful matter, 10% less nitrous oxide, and there are 90% less carbon emissions. Geneva airport was to start fuelling planes with this new eco fuel in 2018. Whether it is rolled out across the world remains to be seen, as it is still more expensive than oil-based fuel.  

Sweden has plans to not only introduce the use of this new mix, but also to enforce the use of it. The ex-leader of Sweden green party is due to release a report to the government highlighting ways to encourage the use of bio-fuels in aviation in the future. If after an investigation by the government, the new bill is passed, planes in Sweden would need to use biofuel from 2021 starting at the lower percentage of 1%, which would then be raised from 1% to 30% by 2035. These bio fuels will again be a mix of vegetable oil, animal fat and typical aviation fuel. 

It could affect the price of flights if airlines start to use biofuels. In Europe, it is estimated that the price should only be increased by 2 euros per flight, however looking further into the future, that price could rise by 2035. However, the benefits for climate change and the difference it could make to the figures, could make the rise in price worth it. If this fuel could be used in cars too, then it could make a huge difference to the amount of harmful pollutants produced in the travel industry every year. It is more likely though, that cars will turn increasingly to electricity in the future. Lorries, buses and planes are likely to benefit the most as they account for more of the co2 emissions. 

The pressure on all industries to meet targets and tackle climate change is growing. Aviation is no different, so by 2020 it is likely that bio-fuel could play a role in reducing its carbon footprint.