Today’s technology has allowed sustainable aviation fuels to be produced from feedstocks that limit the risk of unintended environmental and social consequences, such as competition with needed food production and deforestation.
By investigating only second-generation biofuels (fuels that can be manufactured from various types of non-food biomass), the aviation industry is determined not to repeat the mistakes made with first-generation fuels in transportation - expecting supplies to be fully sustainable.
Some examples of feedstock currently used to produce sustainable aviation fuels include:
- Used fats and oils, such as cooking oil and tallow
- Plants grown in saltwater
- Municipal solid waste or waste gases
- Cellulosic waste
- Non-food crops grown on marginal land, or in rotation with food crops
A major advantage of biofuels is that they are ‘drop-in’ fuels, meaning they share the same properties as the jet fuel used today, so can simply be blended with the current fuel supply.
The aviation industry is working together through groups such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) and sustainability certification schemes such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) to make sure that any fuels used by the industry are, in fact, sustainable.