Sustainable aviation fuels – Options for negative emissions and high carbon efficiency

Ahlström, J., Jafri, Y., Wetterlund, E., & Furusjö, E. (2023). Sustainable aviation fuels – Options for negative emissions and high carbon efficiency. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 125 e103886. 10.1016/j.ijggc.2023.103886.

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Mitigating the climate impact from aviation remains one of the tougher challenges in adapting society to fulfill stated climate targets. Long-range aviation cannot be electrified for the foreseeable future and the effects of combusting fuel at high altitude increase the climate impact compared to emissions of green-house gasses only, which further limits the range of sustainable fuel alternatives. We investigate seven different pathways for producing aviation biofuels coupled with either bio-energy carbon capture and storage (BECCS), or bio-energy carbon capture and utilization (BECCU). Both options allow for increased efficiency regarding utilization of feedstock carbon. Our analysis uses process-level carbon- and energy balances, with carbon efficiency, climate impact and levelized cost of production (LCOP) as primary performance indicators. The results show that CCS can achieve a negative carbon footprint for four out of the seven pathways, at a lower cost of GHG reduction than the base process option. Conversely, as a consequence of the electricity-intensive CO2 upgrading process, the CCU option shows less encouraging results with higher production costs, carbon footprints and costs of GHG reduction. Overall, pathways with large amounts of vented CO2, e.g., gasification of black liquor or bark, as well as fermentation of forest residues, reach a low GHG reduction cost for the CCS option. These are also pathways with a larger feedstock and corresponding production potential. Our results enable a differentiated comparison of the suitability of various alternatives for BECCS or BECCU in combination with aviation biofuel production. By quantifying the relative strengths and weaknesses of BECCS and BECCU and by highlighting cost, climate and carbon-efficient pathways, these results can be a source of support for both policymakers and the industry.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services (AFE)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2023 09:34
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 09:34

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