This Plant-Based Jet Fuel Could Greatly Reduce Flight Emissions – By Nearly 68%

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With climate change, emissions from the transport industry need to be reduced or the damage will be irreversible. Researchers at the University of Georgia developed a fuel using a type of mustard plant that has the capacity to cut down carbon emissions by 68 percent, a press statement reveals.

The team estimated the break-even price and life cycle carbon emissions of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from the oil of Brassica carinata which is a non-edible oilseed crop that is also referred to as the Ethiopian mustard. The study was published in GCB Bioenergy. In February, Rolls-Royce led its first tests of a 100 percent sustainable fuel in a business jet engine.

This Plant-Based Jet Fuel Can Drastically Cut Down Aviation Emissions

This study has come right after President Joe Biden gave the proposal for a sustainable fuel tax credit as part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge. President Biden set a goal for the aviation industry to cut down its hazardous emissions by 20 percent by 2030 and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This tax reduction is applicable for this new fuel.

“Carinata-based SAF could help reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector while creating economic opportunities and improving the flow of ecosystem services across the southern region,” said Puneet Dwivedi, an associate professor at the University of Georgia who led the study. 

The cost of the fuel will be between $0.12 and $1.28 per liter, which is lower than petroleum-based aviation fuel’s current price of $0.50 liters when the new tax incentives are applied. Carinata can also be grown in the “off” season. It means that it can be grown on land that would likely otherwise not be very productive. “Carinata has the potential to be a win-win situation for our rural areas, the aviation industry, and most importantly, climate change,” Dwivedi said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), announced a commitment this month to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. At the same time, Germany opened the world’s first synthetic kerosene production plant with a view to testing the feasibility and scalability of the fuel with the objective of reducing emissions and conserving the environment.

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