Establishing an economically and environmentally beneficial, 'bio-derived' Australian and New Zealand aviation fuels industry is a viable proposition, according to a report compiled by CSIRO in collaboration with the region's major aviation industry players.The report, Flight Path to Sustainable Aviation, predicts that over the next 20 years a new, sustainable, Australia-New Zealand aviation fuels industry could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent, generate more than 12,000 jobs and reduce Australia's reliance on aviation fuel imports by $2 billion per annum.
"This study highlights promising options for the aviation industry," said the project's leader, CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship's economist Paul Graham.
"It also identifies the market, infrastructure and governance changes that will be required for success.
"Through the uptake of sustainable bio-derived jet fuel, together with next generation aircraft and engines, the industry can reduce both its emissions and its reliance on imported fossil fuel."
The study was commissioned by and developed in collaboration with the members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group– including Air New Zealand, Boeing, Qantas and Virgin Australia – together with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and The Climate Group.
It found that production of commercially viable quantities of aviation fuels derived from non-food biomass sources (eg: crop stubble, forestry residues, municipal waste and algae) is a feasible option for Australia and New Zealand. It also found there are currently sufficient biomass stocks to support a local jet fuel industry.
Sustainable bio-derived jet fuel complies with social, environmental and economic criteria, which includes not impacting on food security or the environment and results in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The participants will use the findings of the report as the basis for developing implementation plans and projects, details of which will be announced in the coming months. Some related projects are already in place.