SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL a socio-economic development opportunity for Latin America
The 41st ICAO Assembly in Montreal cemented aviation’s joint ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Airbus, along with international aviation authorities and regulatory bodies see Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) as one of the most viable decarbonization solutions, which can account for up to 65 percent of this goal and be used in both in-service fleets and those of tomorrow.
Airbus commercial aircraft are certified to fly with up to 50 percent SAF, however, Airbus is taking actions to ensure the entire product portfolio can earn certification to fly with 100 percent SAF by 2030. To make it happen, Airbus has accelerated flight test campaigns across all three divisions. This year alone, Airbus carried out successful flight tests using 100 percent SAF on an A380, an H225 helicopter and joined the Royal Air Force to do the same with an A330 MRTT.
Acting on the SAF Supply / Demand Conundrum
Since 2011, SAF has powered more than 360,000 commercial flights around the world. However, SAF represents less than 1 percent of all flights. 2021 saw a significant increase in SAF offtake agreements from a variety of airlines, resulting primarily from incentives and mandates in Europe and the U.S. that are beginning to have strong effects on SAF projects.
In Latin America, several airlines have already embarked on the SAF journey, flying their ferry flights once they have taken delivery of a new aircraft with SAF and commercial flights or committing like LATAM to use 5 percent SAF in all their commercial flights by 2030. As of today, unfortunately, the region’s supply falls short. Latin America, however, possesses an undeniable advantage – through its oil refining know-how, biofuel expertise and large biomass – to become a global SAF leader.
Latin America also has the capacity to develop the cheapest renewable energy, pillars for the development of low carbon Power-to-Liquid (PtL) synthetic fuels, another type of SAF. PtL hydrocarbons require carbon capture and green hydrogen, which are perfectly suited for Latin America’s geography, which possesses some of the globe’s highest solar indices and strong consistent on-shore winds that greatly facilitate the production of green hydrogen.
Airbus supports the large-scale development of the SAF ecosystem, being actively involved in SAF political advocacy and support projects.
This year in Chile, Airbus joined Vuelo Limpio, a program led by the Chilean Energy Sustainability Agency and Civil Aeronautics Board of the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications to advance the use of sustainable energy and decarbonize the aviation ecosystem.
Brazil is one of the largest producers of biofuel and ethanol in the world, with wide biomass potential. Airbus joined the “Fuel of the Future” program ProBioQAV with the objective of introducing SAF into the energy matrix.
In Colombia, Airbus launched the first roundtable on SAF with Honeywell and FedeBiocombustibles in August and in Mexico, Airbus, along with leading aviation companies and associations, launched a contest to accelerate the country's SAF development. Registration is open for interested students and Research Centres until Jan 31st, 2023. The leading projects will be awarded at a ceremony during the next FAMEX Airshow at the end of April 2023.
For more information contact:
Vice President International, Strategy and Commercial Operations
Latin America and The Caribbean