# Imperial College briefing paper on low-carbon fuels for aviation

## Imperial College briefing paper on low-carbon fuels for aviation

A paper has been published by Imperial College, on low-carbon fuels for aviation. The authors looked carefully at the various fuels that the sector is hoping to use in future, to enable it to continue with its expansion plans, flying ever more people each year. The Imperial scientists concluded that hydrogen is impractical and will not contribute significantly as jet fuel in the foreseeable future. They looked at fuels made from various wastes, and their real lifecycle costs, including manufacture and emissions when burned in a jet engine (“well to wake”),and concluded that the scope for production of such fuels, that genuinely offer a CO2 advantage, on a large enough scale, is unlikely.  For fuels made from plant material, it is important to look at the timescale of carbon absorption by plants, and its emissions when burned.  Ignoring the time lag makes these fuels look unrealistically positive. Looking at “power to liquid” fuels, ie. those made using surplus renewably-generated electricity, they conclude that there will not be enough of this electricity available to make jet fuels in sufficient quantity. They appreciate that it is important that novel fuels to not have other negative environmental impacts. All the novel fuels come with serious problems of scalability and dubious carbon savings. .Tweet   Imperial College, London Briefing Paper No 9March 2023 Low-carbon fuels for aviation Andrea Fantuzzi, Paola A. Saenz Cavazos, Nadine Moustafa, Michael High,Mai Bui, A. William Rutherford, Isabella von Holsteindoi.org/10.25561/101834 https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk/bitstream/10044/1/101834/11/IMSE_Low_carbon_aviation_fuels_briefing_paper_2023.pdf   A few extracts from the  32 page paper: Biofuels • Bio-jet fuels are currently the most technologically mature option for low-carbon aviation fuels because some of these feedstocks and processes are already deployed at scale for other uses. • Bio-jet fuels must be blended with kerosene to achieve certification and can then be used with existing aviation infrastructure. This blending proportionally decreases any potential CO2 emission saving. • Bio-jet fuels can be made from a range of feedstocks, which are restricted in the UK to waste materials. UK biofuel feedstock availability is sufficient for only a small proportion of UK aviation fuel demand (