EU’s Transport and Tourism Committee agrees on SAF goals

By Erin Voegele | June 29, 2022

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on the Transport and Tourism Committee on June 27 voted 25 to six in favor of adopting a draft negotiating mandate on the ReFuelEU aviation rules, which sets a goal for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use. The MEPs also broadened the definition of SAF.

The ReFuelEU aviation initiative is part of the EU’s Fit for 55 in 2030 package, which is the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law.

The MEPs’ action on the ReFuelEU initiative increased the EU’s original proposal for the minimum share of SAF that should be made available in EU airports. Starting in 2025, the share is to increase to 2 percent, increasing to 37 percent in 2040 and 85 percent by 2050, taking into account the potential of electricity and hydrogen in the overall fuel mix.

The MEPs also amended the proposed definition of SAF, a term that covers synthetic fuels or certain biofuels, produced from agricultural or forestry residues, algae, bio-waste, or used cooking oil. The updated definition includes recyclable carbon fuels produced from waste processing gas and exhaust gas derived from the production process at industrial installations. The MEPs also suggested that some biofuels produced from animal fats or distillates be used in the aviation fuel mix until 2024. The MEPs, however, excluded feed and food crop-based fuels, and those derived from palm oil, citing sustainability criteria.

In addition, the MEPs are proposing the creation of a Sustainable Aviation Fund from 2023 to 2050 to accelerate the decarbonization of the aviation sector and support investment in SAF, innovative aircraft propulsion technologies, or research for new engines.

The draft negotiating position approved by the committee must now be considered by the whole Parliament during the July plenary session. If approved, the MEPs will be ready to start talks with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation.

A full copy of the announcement is available on the European Parliament’s website