Lufthansa Group CEO, Carsten Spohr has stated that the energy required to produce enough sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to power the entire Lufthansa fleet would require half of Germany’s electricity supply.
His comments came at a conference on 25 September where Spohr was discussing the challenges of decarbonising aviation while keeping prices affordable for consumers. He pointed out that there is still insufficient supply of renewable energy to power SAF production, while, at the same time, if the electricity market would allocate the needed resources to fuel production, the cost of electricity would skyrocket for regular consumers, which is not acceptable.
The use of SAF is still at the beginning of market scaling, and the supply volumes available today and the share of SAF in the Lufthansa Group’s total fuel consumption are correspondingly small.Lufthansa Group statement to Forbes
Spohr expressed reluctance over SAF’s contribution to decarbonising the industry long term, as its cost will have to be passed down to passengers. However, it is currently the best available solution, especially for long haul flights. While the CEO proposed trains or hydrogen planes as alternatives for short haul flights, SAF is the best hope of decarbonising long haul travel in the next decade.
Previously, Spohr responded to a new mandate adopted by the European Parliament regarding minimum required SAF blend in the EU. “From today’s point of view, it won’t work to have even the availability of the quantities that are demanded of us, not to mention the high costs that in the end the passenger will have to bear”, he said.
Members of the European Parliament voted on 13 September to increase the amount of mandatory SAF to be used in the EU by 2050, as part of the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation. The RefuelEU aviation rules are part of the “Fit for 55 package”, the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to ensure the EU becomes climate neutral by 2050.
The timeline on the provision of jet fuel mix obliges EU airports as well as fuel suppliers to ensure that jet fuel is increasingly green. Starting from 2025, at least 2% of aviation fuels will have to be green, with the share increasing every five years. From 2030, at least 3% of jet fuels have to be green, 20% from 2035, 34% from 2040, 42% from 2045 and, finally, 70% from 2050.
Moreover, the law stipulates specific proportions of the fuel mix that have to be synthetic, such as e-kerosene. From 2030, at least 1.2% of fuels need to be synthetic, 2% from 2032, 5% from 2035 and progressively reaching 35% from 2050.