Jet Fuel From Residual Waste Could Supply 10% To Net-Zero Target

Credit: Ian Taylor/Unsplash

Research by the Royal Society has estimated that 1.2 million tonnes of jet fuel could be created from UK municipal solid waste feedstock, amounting to 10% of the Government’s net-zero aviation target, says an article published on mrw.

Achieve net-zero emissions

Under the Jet Zero strategy, the UK aims to achieve net-zero emissions from aviation by 2050.

The Government recently awarded a share of £165m to sustainable fuel projects, including to waste-to-fuel company Velocys.

Environmental impacts

The Royal Society report, Net zero aviation fuels: resource requirements and environmental impacts, said the UK generated around 12 million tonnes a year of content from municipal solid waste that could be used for bioenergy.

Fuel consumption

Of this, around 1.2 million tonnes has the potential to be used for aviation fuel. This equates to around 10% of the UK’s aviation fuel consumption in 2019, which stood at 12.3 million tonnes.

The contribution from used cooking oil was said to be much lower. The report estimated the annual production of fuel from this feedstock would amount only to between 0.3% and 0.6% of the overall jet fuel requirement or 50 million to 100 million litres of fuel.

Secondary use

The report added: “The UK is highly reliant on importing feedstocks for its renewable fuel needs, with more than 423 million litres of used cooking oil sourced from China alone in 2021.

“There is concern that some of the imported cooking oil is not waste but virgin oil or oil with a secondary use, and that, unless importation is properly controlled and regulated, it could lead to encouraging suppliers to clear more land and/or cut food production in order to expand oil production.”

Government target

The Royal Society concluded that there was no single feedstock or technology that could supply enough net-zero fuel, including from agriculture, to meet the Government target.

Crop-derived biofuel

Speaking in the House of Commons in response to a question on sustainable fuel, Defra minister Mark Spencer said: “The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, the main mechanism incentivising renewable transport fuels in the UK, includes a cap on the proportion of crop-derived biofuel that can be supplied each year and provides a double reward for fuels produced from wastes and residues.

“Because of this, 76% of renewable fuel supplied in the UK was derived from wastes in 2021, one of the highest proportions in Europe.”

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Source: mrw


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