European Commission reaches agreement on SAF mandate

By Erin Voegele | April 26, 2023

The European Commission announced on April 26 that a political agreement has been reached on the REFuelEU Aviation proposal, which creates a mandate requiring the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The new rules will require aviation fuel suppliers to supply a minimum share of SAF at European Airports. The SAF requirement starts at 2 percent of overall fuel supply in 2025, ramping up to 70 percent by 2050. The new EU jet fuel blend will need to also contain a minimum share of the most modern and environmentally friendly synthetic fuels, which increases over time.

The blending mandate covers biofuels, recycled carbon fuels and synthetic aviation fuels (e-fuels) in line with the Renewable Energy Directive. The mandate, however, excludes fuels made with food and feed crops.

In addition to the SAF mandate, the agreement also requires aircraft operators departing from EU airports to refuel only with fuel necessary for the flight, to avoid emissions related to extra weight or carbon leakage caused by “tinkering” practices of deliberately carrying excess fuel to avoid refueling with SAF. The agreement also requires airports to ensure their fueling infrastructure is available and fit for SAF distribution.

The agreement is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft by approximately two-thirds by 2050. It will also provide climate and air quality benefits by reducing other types of emissions.

The political agreement must now be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council. Once that process is complete, the new legislation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and enter into force with immediate effect.

Additional information is available on the European Commission website.



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