Roadmap: The Aviation Industry – Summary
One of the prerequisites for national and regional competitiveness is that distances can be covered within an acceptable period of time. Air transport is, and will continue to be, the mode of transport that provides longrange accessibility with reasonable travel times.
Globally, aviation accounts for around two percent of the carbon dioxide emissions. In Sweden, domestic and international aviation, accounts for around five percent of Sweden’s total carbon dioxide output. As for all other industries, emissions need to be reduced.
One of the solutions is that the aviation industry contributes to a fossil free future by switching to an alternative fuel. When fossil free fuel is produced, distributed and demanded in sufficient volumes, aviation can make a major contribution to the attainment of national and global climate goals.
At the same time, a comprehensive improvement of energy efficiency and increased electrification are required, which contribute to limiting the demand for fuel regardless of the source. Domestic flights require approx. 200 000 m³ biofuel and international flights approx. 1 million m³, in other words approx. 2 and 10 TWh respectively.
The technology is available for producing fossil free fuel that can be used straight away in today’s aircraft engines without the need for any technical modifications. But the limitations are largely due to the fact that there is currently no functioning market.
A transition to fossil free fuel within the aviation industry would have the effect of reducing aviation’s climate impact, while also providing the opportunity to create more jobs in existing and new green industries. If Sweden leads the way in this development, many others will follow and the solutions would have the potential to drive a global transition.
The need for a market
The Government notes that the additional costs of fossil free fuel for aviation are high and that the incentives for airlines to demand biofuels are therefore low. In order for the aviation industry to contribute to the Government’s goal of a fossil free future, an increase in fossil free fuel production is crucial. This requires a functioning market.
The market for fossil free fuel could be created by the aviation industry committing itself to buying a specific volume, although this is impossible at the moment as the cost is unknown. The producers are faced with a similar challenge, not knowing if they can get a return on their investments and therefore not daring to invest.
Solving this dilemma is key. We must therefore find a model that creates a market where various parties are initially involved, sharing the risk as well as the difference in price between fossil and fossil free fuels.
These initiatives will mainly be at industrial and political levels. This means that lead times can be reasonably short and that the aviation industry can contribute considerably to a fossil free future with a relatively fast transition.
The strategic objective for 2030 is that all domestic flights are fossil free. For 2045 the strategic objective is that all flights originating from Sweden are fossil free. This is in line with the Government’s goals.
Obstacles/Challenges on the way
The roadmap identifies three main obstacles which need to be overcome in order to facilitate the transition. These relate to economic incentives and terms, commodity availability, prioritisation and competition, and political will, coherence and regulation. Common to all these areas is the necessity for all stakeholders to play an active role in the creation and development of a fossil free aviation market, thus enabling Sweden to realise its objectives.
• Economic incentives and conditions will need to be implemented if the volumes of fossil free fuel required to achieve the two strategic objectives are to be produced. Production of these volumes in a commercially viable setting requires a number of actions.
The price gap between fossil and fossil free fuels is a strong deterrent to any would-be purchaser of the latter. Furthermore, insufficient evidence of its commercial viability has a negative effect on the availability of risk capital. Policy instruments are therefore necessary if a transition is to be made possible.
• Commodity supply and prioritisation are needed to facilitate adequate access to biomass, especially if production is to be carried out locally. Political clarity is required to ensure long-term access to the relevant biomass. The necessary investments in more production facilities will not be made as long as the uncertainty surrounding the commercial viability and future remains.
• Political will, coherence and regulation are necessary to enable a clear, long-term political plan detailing the way in which different industries, including aviation, should move from fossil to fossil free fuels. In order for investments to be made in Sweden, the market needs to know that a long-term demand exists. This requires clear political will, stable rules and clear objectives.
Three selected proposals for the removal of obstacles
The roadmap identifies that the state has the ability to contribute to the creation of a market through a series of actions. Three of these are:
• The state should promptly decide on the direction of state aid for investment. Production capacity to provide the aviation industry with fuel required to attain the 2030 objective requires an investment of around SEK 5 billion.
• The state should formulate and communicate a public strategic objective for the transition to fossil free aviation, with the milestones 2030 and 2045, including a long-term goal of electric aviation.
• The state should conduct a public tender for the provision of the amount of fossil free fuel required for public sector air travel in Sweden.
Moreover, the roadmap identifies what opportunities the manufacturing and aviation industries have in terms of contributing to the creation of a functioning market for fossil free aviation.
Making a whole industry fossil free involves many players and value chains. The roadmap has been drawn up in a limited time and in a limited format. There are therefore aspects that need to be investigated more closely. However, the roadmap has taken as its starting point what can be done in a relatively short period of time to bring about a change.
A primary conclusion is that if the market can be created, many of the conditions are already in place for a transition to fossil free aviation – a process in which Sweden can and should play a leading role.
Summaries: Aggregates Industry, Aviation industry, Cement industry, Concrete industry, Construction and civil engineering sector, Digitalisation consultancy industry, Food retail sector, Forest sector, Heating industry, Heavy Haulage Industry, Maritime industry, Mining and mineral industry, Steel industry