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Use of Sustainable Fuels in Aviation—A Review


As the push for carbon-neutral transport continues, the aviation sector is facing increasing pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. Furthermore, commercial air traffic is expected to resume the continuous growth experienced until the pandemic, highlighting the need for reduced emissions. The use of alternative fuels plays a key role in achieving future emission goals, while also lowering the dependency on fossil fuels. The so-called sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which encompass bio and synthetic fuels, are currently the most viable option, but hydrogen is also being considered as a long-term solution. The present paper reviews the production methods, logistical and technological barriers, and potential for future mass implementation of these alternative fuels. In general, biofuels currently present higher technological readiness levels than other alternatives. Sustainable mass production faces critical feedstock-related challenges that synthetic fuels, together with other solutions, can overcome. All conventional fuel replacements, though with different scopes, will be important in meeting long-term goals. Government support will play an important role in accelerating and facilitating the transition towards sustainable aviation.

Funding source: This work was supported by FCT, through IDMEC, under LAETA, in the framework of project UIDB/50022/2020.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Portugal

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