The market for renewable aviation fuel (RAF) is expected to witness a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 56.05% from 2020 to 2025. Government policies have been one of the major factors in driving the market. This is according to new research by Reportlinker.
The report says the introduction of Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) by ICAO is encouraging aircraft operators to switch to RAF. Several countries, like India, are planning to introduce policies to support the development of RAF. Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is more expensive than jet fuel and this cost premium is a key barrier to its wider use, the research states.
The expected increase in demand for renewable aviation fuel is not likely to be met unless airline operators expand their renewable aviation fuel commitments with bio-refineries, which will consequently result in driving improvements in fuel cost and availability. With the expected increase in the adoption of renewable aviation fuels on a global scale, the investments in airport infrastructure are expected to increase. North America dominated the market in 2018, mainly driven by the existing framework of fuel policies supporting renewable aviation fuel production.
Defense Sector to be the Fastest-growing Segment
The defense sector consumes a large amount of aviation fuel. On average, the US military burns about 4.8 billion gallons of jet fuel and diesel each year. Nearly half of that goes to the Air Force and around one-third to the Navy.
Besides, the military sector seeks to improve the environmental performance of its aircraft fleets, as well as to reduce environmental emissions. Biofuels are considered as a way to maintain secure sources of fuel and reduce cost volatility while supporting the country’s environmental initiatives.
The defense sector is expected to be the fastest-growing market, owing to the increasing government focus on promoting bio-jet fuels in the defense/military sector, particularly in the United States. Companies, such as Honeywell, use this renewable jet fuel process technology for the US Navy and Air Force, as part of a joint program for the US Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) for alternative fuel testing and certification.
North America to Dominate the Market
North America is one of the largest markets for both, the aviation industry and renewable aviation fuel, according to the report. In 2017, the US commercial aircraft fleet reached around 7,397, representing an increase of 2.79% from the previous year’s fleet. United States airlines carried an all-time high number of passengers in 2018 — 1,011.5 million worldwide. In the United States, robust growth in air travel resulted in more than 9.2 million metric ton increase in aviation emissions, in 2018, and this number is expected to increase in the coming years as well.
Switching to more energy-dense biofuel to reach the goal of decarbonizing the aviation sector is expected to play an important role in reducing GHG concentration across the region. Waste, residual fats, and oil could supply as much as 7% of the total jet fuel demand in the United States and Canada. In North America, Diamond Green Diesel and AltAir (part of World Energy), the two largest renewable diesel producers, are primarily making use of waste feedstock, such as animal fats and used cooking oil, for their production.
Overall, with supportive policies to decarbonize the aviation emission, the North American market is deemed to be one of the strong demand centers for the renewable aviation fuel market.
In May 2019, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced it committed itself for a 10-year period to the development and purchase of 75,000 metric tons of sustainable aviation fuel a year. With that, KLM became the first airline in the world to invest in sustainable aviation fuel on this scale.