Jean Luc Devisscher
October 1, 2020

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in the UK has called on ICAO to set targets for the use of sustainable fuels in aviation and for the British Government to invest some of the GBP 4 billion annual revenue raised from Air Passenger Duty (APD) to scale-up its production.

LHR’s CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “We are clear that expansion at Heathrow will not come at a cost to the environment, which is why we are working with the industry and government to develop environmental targets that will ensure growth is managed sustainably both now and with expansion.”

Earlier in 2019, the UK Committee for Climate Change report said that synthetic fuels could provide the solution to aviation emissions but are “thermodynamically and economically challenging”. Synthetic fuels are created by taking electrons from electricity and putting them into a liquid form that can then be used in a jet engine. The idea is that by using renewable electricity in the process, the end result can be much cleaner than fossil fuel. However, at the moment it’s extremely energy-intensive to produce. Some 115 terawatt hours (TWh) of synthetic jet fuel would require around 200 TWh of zero-carbon electricity, which is the equivalent to a further 33% of the total UK electricity generation requirements. This means that the UK would have to massively upscale its renewable energy generation to meet the demand and create a surplus. However, the report said if the challenges around synthetic fuels could be resolved it could play a large role in low emission aviation.