Looking for alternatives to fossil fuels in aviation
Joachim Buse is Lufthansa’s Vice President, Aviation Biofuel. Lufthansa has been at the forefront of pioneering the use of biofuels in aviation and was the world’s first airline to trial biofuels on regular scheduled flights in 2011.
The aviation industry has undertaken a great deal in terms of climate protection and has set itself ambitious targets. In line with IATA’s industry-wide goal, airlines must reduce their net CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 compared to 2005. If we want to protect our climate and thus our future in a sustainable manner, we need innovative ideas and technologies and an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels – particularly in view of the growing demand for mobility worldwide.
Biosynthetic kerosene is just as reliable as conventional jet fuel but the environmental effects are more positive. Thanks to the higher energy density of biofuel, it is possible to reduce fuel consumption. Furthermore, biosynthetic kerosene is free of sulfur and aromatic compounds.
The principle behind biofuel is simple and is based on the carbon cycle. Plants withdraw CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. When aircraft engines burn biofuel, this CO2 is released back into the atmosphere. Biofuel emits about 50% less CO2 than conventional fossil fuels.
The use of biosynthetic kerosene is one element of the four-pillar climate protection strategy pursued by Lufthansa with a view to reducing overall CO2 emissions in the air transport sector. By combining a range of different measures – for example, ongoing fleet modernisation, technology improvements to aircraft and engines, operational measures such as engine washing or the use of lighter materials and an improved infrastructure – Lufthansa aims to achieve the ambitious environmental goals set out in its strategy.
Our point of view
The current and future market for aviation biofuels
Matti Lehmus, Neste Oil’s Executive Vice President, Oil Products and Renewables, writes about the future of the biofuels in aviation.