Some major aviation industry leaders have approached U.S Congress to approve an incentive for commercial aircraft to be powered by unwanted rubbish and sugar. 

Recycling can potentially power your next flight 

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) are biofuels that can be made from various municipal waste products such as rubbish, corn, or sugar. The switch could be crucial in dramatically reducing the high emissions currently being produced by aircraft across the globe. 

Major players within the airline industry – including industry figures from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines – sent a letter to congressional leaders on Friday asking for a tax credit to incentivise the production and use of SAFs. The letter asked the U.S Congress for a tax credit of $1.50 to $2.00 per gallon of SAF. 

The industry figures spoke of the importance of acting “today” to make sure that energy sources for their aircraft and all aircraft across the globe are “cleaner, more sustainable, and more secure”. They continued:

“Our organizations stand ready to work with Congress to ensure we meet our shared goal of a net-zero aviation industry by 2050.”

United Airlines’ Chief Sustainability Officer, Lauren Riley, said that the major U.S airline is committed to a more sustainable future. The future of flying, according to Riley, can be “carbon-free”. The implementation of SAFs will help considerably. 

United Airlines and biofuel
United used around 1 million gallons of SAFs last year. | © Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As of now, the amount of SAFs used by airlines is very small in comparison to the gallons of traditional fuel most used by airlines today. This is because of the simple fact that sustainable fuels are not used as commonly due to supply and cost. 

This is supported by comments made by Jeff Barber, a global news editor at the Oil Price Information Service, who believes that SAF prices can be three to five times more expensive than traditional fuels. 

In September 2021, the Biden Administration announced its commitment to producing more SAFs, 30 billion gallons to be specific, which should reduce aviation emissions by 20% by 2030. 

This is the latest move within the aviation industry in its mission to become more sustainable and ease the negative impact it is making on our Earth. 

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