Flight path to sustainable aviation: towards establishing a sustainable aviation fuels industry in Australia and New Zealand. Sustainable aviation fuel road map.

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Graham, Paul ORCID ID icon




The importance of aviation to the economic prosperity and way of life in Australia and New Zealand has underpinned a significant growth in the region’s aviation sector. While the aviation sector must continue to meet rising demand for air transport services, the industry understands it needs to diversify and conserve its fuel supplies into the future and work towards reducing its environmental impacts, particularly greenhouse gas emissions. In response to this challenge the global aviation industry has been one of the first industry groups to set ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, aiming to achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction from 2005 levels by 2050. The utilisation of advanced aircraft, fuel conservation and improved airspace management offer the most immediate ways to reduce aviation’s environmental impact. However, against growing demand for air transportation these efforts alone are unlikely to be sufficient to see an overall reduction in emissions in the long term. To not only improve its ability to reduce emissions but also address energy security the aviation sector needs a substitute for petroleum-based fuel. This step is more difficult for the aviation sector because, relative to ground transportation, aviation fuel is constrained by a much stricter set of safety, technological and regulatory requirements. The only alternative fuel which can meet all of the environmental, economic and technical challenges is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from biomass (crops, plants, trees, algae, waste and other organic matter).Australia and New Zealand are strongly positioned to incorporate sustainable aviation fuel into the aviation fuel mix. The scale of potential biomass production in the region is well matched to the aviation fuel industry’s needs, while domestic oil supplies are on the decline. However there are currently no significant supplies of SAF anywhere in the world at this time. Establishing a local commercially viable supply chain is the major challenge needing to be addressed. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of the Australian and New Zealand aviation sector taking up bio-derived aviation fuels, the benefits of doing so and the challenges that need to be overcome to make it a reality.


aviation; biofuels; biomass

Environment and Resource Economics

Accepted Version (pdf) (2.36MB)


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Graham, Paul. Flight path to sustainable aviation: towards establishing a sustainable aviation fuels industry in Australia and New Zealand. Sustainable aviation fuel road map.. CSIRO; 2011. csiro:EP107203. https://doi.org/10.4225/08/58518990bf0ac

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