SAF ‘not a silver bullet’, warns Carbon Thrust founder
The use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will play a part in helping the planet become net zero by 2050 but is “not a silver bullet”, says an expert in sustainability.
Speaking at the Advantage Travel Group’s conference in Madeira, Thrust Carbon founder Mark Corbett told delegates the entire ecosystem that forms the industry will need to work together to reach the target.
He said SAF currently accounts for 0.1% of overall aviation fuels, with the sector setting a target of 10% within 10 years.
“SAF is wonderful as it’s bio-produced and far lower in emissions [than regular aviation fuel], though not quite zero,” said Corbett.
“A 50% per cent blend [of SAF] with traditional aviation fuel yields about an 80% reduction in emissions on a flight, which is fantastic and a big step towards net zero.
“But it’s not a silver bullet. Production numbers are currently at 0.1%, so we’ve got a long way to go to reach the 10% target.”
Despite the challenges, Corbett said he believes the sector can become net zero by introducing “small, incremental changes”.
“In 30 years’ time when we get to 2050 we’ll have reduced emissions throughout the entire travel ecosystem to a very small level,” he added.
“These things are happening and there are so many businesses that are on board, it’s just very early stages with lots of unproven tech that needs huge amounts of capital to get going.”
He told delegates that the planet is currently “not on track to hit net zero” by 2050, adding it will become clear in 2030 if the target is obtainable.
“If we can get a 50% reduction [in total emissions] by 2030 we will be absolutely flying and on our way to net zero, and all the science says the planet will cool if that happens,” he said.
“But it’s not easy, and it’s important to recognise that with your clients.”
Corbett finished his speech on a positive note, telling delegates: “If we take steps today, we fundamentally can do this [achieve the net zero target] and we can reverse climate change.”
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