ALTA promotes the use of sustainable aviation fuels in Latin America

In the context of Aviation Law Americas, the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) signs an agreement with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to guide the production, marketing and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in Latin America. The signing takes place at the joint meeting of the association’s fuel committee in its sessions from September 14 to 16.

The agreement is important because it lays the groundwork for the Latin American airline industry to advance in the implementation of the 2050 Vision of the Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) by calling on States and other industry players to take part in the future use of SAF by 2050. Another feature is the creation of a framework for technical cooperation that promotes the production and distribution of SAF. For this purpose, different mechanisms are considered, such as incentive policies, project management, and resources.

“The opportunities to position our region as a producer and marketer of SAF are very relevant”, says Jose Ricardo Botelho, executive director and CEO of ALTA. “We have all the raw material to achieve it, the demand is here and we have the possibility of encouraging important investments and the generation of millions of jobs”.

Although the aviation sector is responsible for 3% of total CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Despite the reduced impact compared to other sectors, it is one of the few areas that has clear objectives in the short, medium and long term. The most important is the halving of polluting emissions by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

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Currently, the airline industry is working on various alternatives to achieve net emissions, including the development of new technologies in engines and aircraft, the search for fuel alternatives and mitigation measures, among others. The SAF are the most immediate tool, despite the fact that years of successful experiments still cannot be used in their entirety. To date, they can only be used 50% mixed with traditional fuels.

The SAF have a high potential to slow down the decarbonization of aviation with the possibility of eliminating the emission of polluting gases by 80%. However, for its massive use, it is urgent to expand its use to increase production and thereby reduce the costs that facilitate its acquisition. To this end, aviation calls for cooperation with governments to provide a convenient formula so that airlines are motivated to acquire these new fuels and production grows, decreasing values.

“Biofuels have become an important tool for the decarbonization of transport and it is the agricultural sector that provides the fundamental raw materials to industrialize and produce these more environmentally friendly biological fuels,” added Gabriel Delgado, coordinator of the South Region and IICA Representative in Brazil.

Why resort to ICCA?

IICA is the specialized agency for agriculture of the inter-American system. Its mission is to stimulate, promote and support its 34 member states, represented by their ministers of agriculture, in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through excellent international technical cooperation. Therefore, it is a transversal multilateral institution that can influence the generation of policies at the local and regional levels.

According to IICA’s “Atlas of liquid biofuels 2020-2021”, the raw materials most used in the production of SAF are vegetable oils, such as palm, soybean or rapeseed, as well as used vegetable oils, animal fats and other vegetable oils. virgins, among them the sunflower. The use of biological raw materials can replace fuels derived from petroleum.

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Latin America has a potential for SAF production. Photography (reference) – American Airlines

Due to its geographical diversity, Latin America has the potential as a region to assume leadership in the production and sale of SAF to the world. For this reason, governments have the political responsibility to create a short-term regulatory framework and anticipate the use of this alternative fuel to promote cleaner aviation, without having to implement other types of responsive measures to pressure or interest groups. as in other regions of the world.

“Various scenarios project an increase in world consumption. In addition to their use in land transport, biofuels have begun to be used in other sectors, such as aviation, therefore, this alliance can bring many benefits to the sector and the region”states Delgado in ALTA Law Americas.

Multilateral commitment

ALTA commits in October 2021 to generate instances to promote research, innovation and technological progress programs for the development of alternative fuels in civil aviation. His proposal considers a sustainable approach; promote initiatives for the use of SAF; and work in a coordinated manner to promote that the use of this type of fuel does not become an economic fiscal burden for air transport.

“The agreement that we signed today with IICA will allow us to collaborate technically in the preparation of projects specifically for our region that, without a doubt, will be extremely positive in accelerating the deployment of the SAF in the region. The demand is there, now we need to drive availability efficiently”adds Botelho.

Cover photo – Boeing