Aviation Still Flying Toward Sustainability.

Sustainable aviation is still aloft. What is new in sustainable aviation? Is it being kept in flight by governments, NGOs, and the E.S.G. movement? Without the aforementioned would sustainable aviation have gotten off the ground let alone be sustained? If not, how sustainable is sustainable aviation?

On Aviation™
6 min readSep 12, 2023
Photo by Samuel’s Photos on Unsplash

In this digest, we have talked quite a couple of times about aviation sustainability. We’ve talked about the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). In recent months we’ve noticed a slight drop off in the amount of reports of sustainable aviation fuel projects. We’ve also noted that sustainable aviation requires massive amounts of investments that the private sector may not be willing to take on at this time given the current economic challenges and what economists are forecasting for the future.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, governments around the world are not shy about investing in ”green aviation”. In fact, much of the push for sustainable aviation is due to government mandates on the industry. Whether you think this is good or bad is another topic for another time. However, While there are great possibilities for sustainable aviation, we must always understand the limitations.

On Aviation™ Note: It is worth remembering that the major initiative behind sustainable aviation comes from governments and non-governmental organizations around the world, not the private sector itself — except the E.S.G. movement.

In this digest, We share some stories and articles on sustainable aviation, providing some updates as to what’s been happening over the past month within the aviation industry as it relates to greener aviation.

New Clean Aviation projects to facilitate highly efficient aircraft by 2035

The Governing Board (GB) of the Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking (Brussel, Belgium) has approved €380 million, including €152 million in EU funding, for an additional eight projects accelerating aviation’s trajectory towards climate neutrality in support of the European Green Deal.

These projects in the field of new aircraft concepts and innovative propulsion architectures, mentioned below, will complement those funded under Clean Aviation’s first call for proposals. They will help prepare all of the necessary elements for ground and flight test activities starting in 2026. According to Clean Aviation, activities proposed will exploit the maximum potential of composite materials for significant weight reduction opportunities. Overall, projects under this second call for proposals seek to help reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases for commercial air travel by no less than 30% compared to the best aircraft models available today.

“Pulling together the best talent and capabilities from the private and public sectors is key in the interest of bolstering European innovation,” Sabine Klauke, co-chair of the GB, CTO, Airbus, says. “Collectively, we are driving the world towards cleaner skies and a more sustainable future.”

By Grace Nehls | Composites World

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Velocys to Launch Two Plants to Make Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Oxford-based Velocys is gearing up to launch two plants to enable production of net-zero sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from municipal solid waste (MSW), commercial and industrial waste, and woody biomass residue.

In the tech company’s eyes, leveraging these feedstocks is a way to scale faster in the race to decarbonize aviation. One facility, the Altalto project, will operate in Immingham in the U.K. The other, the Bayou Fuels project, will run in Mississippi.

SAF could achieve 65 percent of the carbon reduction needed for the aviation sector to reach a 2050 net-zero target, estimates the International Air Transport Association. But getting there will require substantial volumes of feedstock. The industry consumes a staggering 400 million tons of fuel a year. Today’s SAF, made from biogenic oils, doesn’t exist in quantities to satiate this transportation sector’s appetite.

That’s the top driver to move beyond the first generation of cleaner jet fuel and turn to these waste products, which are abundant and cheap, says Neville Hargreaves, vice president Waste to Fuels Velocys.

By Arlene Karidis | Waste360

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VÆRIDION Announces Cooperation with Sustainable Aviation Foundation Skyfinity

Vaeridion GmbH is a Munich-based company that is accelerating the green transformation of aviation with a small electric aircraft that will be certified and delivered before 2030. Skyfinity is a sustainable aviation non-profit foundation and impact fund that sources long-term capital from passengers and corporates, thereby reducing funding gaps for aviation start-ups to enable the accelerated introduction of sustainable flying technology. Both parties have agreed to support each other in their shared ambitions towards the decarbonization of the aviation industry.

“Accelerating technology development for net-zero aviation is the long-term solution that will enable us to fly with minimal load on the planet. This is challenging because start-ups and scale-ups are the key to introducing new technology, but they face severe financial barriers. As travelers, we have the shared responsibility and the power to drive the industry forward, by ‘innovating-to-zero.’ Skyfinity is the bridge — linking travelers and businesses with sustainable aviation innovators. This partnership with VÆRIDION is a pivotal move for Skyfinity to support the development of promising flying technologies, and to share the story of how sustainable aviation unfolds,” said Maurice Boon, chairman of Skyfinity.

By Vaeridion GmbH | Aviation Pros

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Biden administration to delay aviation fuel subsidy guidance until December, sources say

President Joe Biden’s administration likely will delay until December a decision on whether to make it easier for sustainable aviation fuel made from corn-based ethanol to qualify for subsidies under the White House’s signature climate law, two sources familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday.

The administration has been divided over the issue, which has prompted a fierce lobbying push from U.S. Farm Belt stakeholders that see sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as crucial for the ethanol market’s growth. Environmental groups, on the other hand, say clearing land to grow crops for fuel is counterproductive to curbing global warming.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

John Podesta, a senior White House adviser on clean energy, has been tasked with resolving the issue, Reuters reported in August. At the time, a White House official told Reuters that the administration’s SAF policy seeks to include ethanol, but “we are trying to seek alignment with stakeholders on the question of modeling.”

By JStephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw | Reuters

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in the content shared in this digest are for informational purposes only, are solely those of the original content creators, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of On Aviation™ or its affiliates.

Thank you for reading this week’s On Aviation™ digest. Do you believe the goal laid out for sustainable aviation around the world will be met on time? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Remember to check out our On Aviation™ Podcast and continue the conversation on our Twitter and Instagram.

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