Science - 28/September/2018

The potential to power planes with clean synthetic fuels

Reducing emissions from the ever growing aviation sector is no easy task. Renewables-based synthetic kerosene production is one solution currently being explored

One of the bigger elephants blocking progress in the energy transition room is aviation. Alternatives to fossil-fuel kerosene are often as polluting as the conventional product and more expensive to produce. But few people are willing to stop flying. Renewables-based power-to-liquids projects for kerosene production may help ease the aviation elephant out of the door.

Direct emissions from aviation account for more than 2% of global emissions. If global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top ten emitters, says the European Commission, the EU executive body. Someone flying from London to New York and back generates roughly the same level of emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year, it estimates. Aviation’s climate impact will consume up to 22% of our remaining carbon budget until 2050, warns Stay Grounded, an international network aiming to tackle root causes of aviation growth and climate change. ...

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