As a sector subject to international regulation, civil aviation has so far not yet established a long-term emission reduction goal. With a perspective of fostering the debate on the European contribution to such a goal, the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) hosted a workshop in its premises in Paris on January 30th 2020. Stakeholders from various European member states laid out the potential of various climate mitigation measures in aviation. Past efforts have ensured that despite strong increases in demand, total emissions growth has been maintained at a lower rate. However, this also means that existing measures and scenarios will not be sufficient for long-term emissions reduction.
Recent numbers from Eurocontrol indicate, that potential from operational efficiency improvements is limited: en-route flight efficiency reached 97.3% in the area in 2018. Improvements in aircraft efficiency is happening step-wise, as new generations are released. Yet, with lifespans of 20 or 30 years, these innovations take time to reduce fleet emissions. Therefore, the third and most important pillar for decreasing aviation emission will therefore be sustainable aviation fuels. With limited potential for advanced biofuels, and sustainability challenges for crop-based ones, the key to reaching a long-term goal in aviation will be powerfuels, in the form of Power-to-liquid (PtL) kerosene.
The Global Alliance Powerfuels presented the current state of PtL developments at the workshop in a joint session with SkyNRG and Transport & Environment.