US President Joe Biden's administration is quietly discussing a target date of 2050 for weaning aircraft off fossil fuels as part of its broader push to fight climate change, sources familiar with the matter said.
The White House in recent days has stepped up efforts aimed at transforming the US economy, including promotion of climate-directed infrastructure spending and bringing auto companies on board for its push for more electric vehicle use.
The Biden administration is contemplating incentives to support private-sector production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as it searches for ways to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the hard-to-electrify aviation industry.
The administration is looking at a 2050 target for airlines to fly on 100pc jet fuel from renewable sources, said two anonymous sources.
The United States and Europe are trying to find ways to encourage production and adoption of SAF, which is two to five times more expensive than standard jet fuel.
Made from feedstocks such as used cooking oil and animal fat, SAF at present accounts for only a miniscule amount of overall jet fuel use.
The administration confirmed that SAF is on its radar, but did not comment on or confirm the 2050 target.
"As part of the Build Back Better agenda, President Biden proposed catalytic investments to propel innovation and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels," said Ali Zaidi, the deputy national climate adviser for the White House.
"The administration is committed to advancing climate solutions in every sector and segment of the economy - with the urgency that the climate crisis demands."
The aviation sector cannot count on electrification as a near-term solution because of the weight of the batteries.
Mr Biden's administration, which has set a goal for net-zero emissions by 2050, has discussed incentives and targets to increase SAF. In Europe, regulators are seeking to force suppliers to blend rising amounts of SAF into their kerosene, a move opposed by US airlines.
The White House and industry groups are expected to meet virtually later this month to promote alternative jet fuels, although specific actions that might be taken are not clear, three sources said.
Source – The Irish Independent