Aerospace Policy Advisor, ADS
The global aviation industry has committed to the ambitious goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and has a clear plan to achieve it, including sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), new technologies such as hydrogen and incremental efficiency improvements.
Over the course of the last century, aviation has been a consistent driver of global connectivity.
Sustainable aviation fuel production
The most immediate lever to reduce net carbon emissions is the mass rollout of sustainable aviation fuels derived from sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oil. They have several, significant advantages, including the ability to act as a ‘drop-in’ fuel in current engine technology.
Indeed, this November saw the first-ever 100% SAF flight across the Atlantic. The real challenge for SAF will be scaling production to meet the industry’s ever-increasing demand for sustainable fuels.
To provide a clear demand signal for SAF, the UK has implemented a 10% SAF mandate by 2030. Supported by schemes such as Green Fuels, Green Skies (GFGS) — which provides funding for early-stage SAF producers — these policies will encourage investment into a domestic UK SAF production industry, producing home-grown SAF and generating jobs across the country – more than 10,000 by 2030.
To provide a clear demand signal for SAF, the UK has implemented a 10% SAF mandate by 2030.
Investing in efficient aerospace tech
While SAF represents a medium-term way to reduce carbon emissions, aerospace technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a jointly industry-government funded innovation body recently supported by £975 million of new funding through to 2030, the aerospace industry in the UK is carrying out world-leading research and development into the new and novel technologies of the future.
New propulsion methods including hydrogen — or revolutionary new wing designs such as the Wing of Tomorrow programme — will contribute to the continued improvement of the efficiency of aircraft in the skies.
Net zero is an exciting moment for aerospace. Significant reductions in net carbon emissions by 2050 will be difficult to achieve, but this industry has a long track record of overcoming generation-defining challenges. In doing so, the UK stands to solidify its place as an aviation and aerospace powerhouse for decades to come.