Live from COP26: FON blog part 1 on SAF

As the eyes of the world focus on the city of Glasgow as it plays host to the COP26 summit, the downstream industry is right in the middle of some significant changes to reduce  emissions and to respond to the urgent global need to address climate change.

Stephen Marcos Jones, director-general UKPIA, writes exclusively for Fuel Oil News from COP26 to bring us the latest key updates for the sector:

“This is the first in a series of short blog posts, which will share my opinion on what the COP26 discussions might mean for the downstream sector.

“Enduring change is going to be a focus of the next fortnight. One early change is the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) – provided by UK downstream companies – to fly between London and the Scottish airports – my flight from Heathrow included! This is the first time such fuels will ever have been used to transport delegates to the Conference of Parties and represents a meaningful  example of what our sector can already contribute today.

Live from COP26 blog from Stephen Marcos Jones UKPIA
Stephen Jones

“Aviation is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise. With electric batteries unlikely to power international flights, liquid fuels from renewable sources are leading the discussion around Net-Zero aviation. For me it is really encouraging that the UK has set its sights on being a global leader in this space. There are two SAF projects already in the pipeline here in the UK, Fulcrum Bioenergy in the North-West located at the Stanlow refinery complex, and another based in Immingham, by Velocys.”

But what is a sustainable aviation fuel?

“Using our Fulcrum Bioenergy example,  municipal solid waste will be converted into low carbon liquid fuels very similar in composition to today’s jet kerosene. The waste itself – rich in hydrogen and carbon – will come from households, and because they are wastes, have better sustainability credentials than some other potential feedstocks that might compete with land used for foods.

“For now, SAFs need to be mixed with traditional aviation fuel to ensure quality and efficiency but in future, I believe we could see an aviation sector that sources all of its fuel as SAFs.

“UKPIA, its members, and the UK Government are exploring policy opportunities for the at scale growth of SAFs, through mandates, support for investment and assessing the supply chain – the challenge is there, and we are ready to help meet it.

“The world is coming together for COP26 and it is really pleasing to know that some of that coming together is being supported by the innovation of the downstream sector through the production of sustainable aviation fuels. I look forward to seeing other great examples of technological success over the next fortnight!”

We look forward to hearing more from Stephen as COP26 progresses.
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