Congresswoman Julia Brownley Introduces Sustainable Aviation Fuel Act

(Credit: Pixabay)

by | Feb 4, 2021

(Credit: Pixabay)

Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) on Thursday introduced the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Act, legislation to incentivize the production of sustainable aviation fuel and help the aviation sector reduce carbon emissions.

Since 2011, more than 200,000 flights have used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). However, while SAF is beginning to be produced both in the US and internationally, it is not being done fast enough to achieve the world’s long-term climate change goals. Additionally, the same feedstocks that are used to produce SAF are also used to produce renewable diesel, which is primarily used in ground transportation and cannot be used for aviation. Renewable diesel is marginally cheaper to produce than SAF, while policy incentives mean producers are incentivized to make renewable diesel rather than SAF.

The bill would create a new blender’s tax credit for SAF, linked to carbon reductions, as well as an Investment Tax Credit to help finance new SAF facilities and infrastructure. It would authorize $1 billion in federal funding for US projects that produce, transport, blend, or store SAF. It would authorize $175 million in research funding to push the limits of existing SAF technology to try to lower SAF carbon emissions even more. And it would require the EPA to establish an aviation-only Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) similar to California’s successful transportation-wide LCFS.

Aviation emissions are projected to triple by 2050. Sustainable aviation fuel is a “key component to decarbonization the aviation industry,” Brownley says.

SAF is a drop-in fuel, which is an interchangeable substitute for fossil jet fuel up to a certain blending percentage. It therefore functions the same as fossil jet fuel while also meeting certain sustainability criteria. For the purposes of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Act, only SAF that achieves at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to fossil jet fuel on a lifecycle basis will qualify for the various incentives in the bill. Multiple types of SAF have been certified by ASTM International as safe for use in airplanes up to certain maximum blending limits.

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, according to research by Reportlinker.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

Share This