Carbon Removal and Sustainable Aviation Fuel in the News

The team at Tomorrow's Air is always busy tracking the latest trends and developments from the dynamic sectors of carbon dioxide removal and sustainable aviation fuel. Through our technical supply partners and through the conferences, panel discussions, newsletters and research reports we monitor, Tomorrow's Air keeps abreast of what's happening and offers a monthly digest in our Airrow Bulletin. Here are the highlights from our October, 2023 edition.

1. The E.U. has finalized the text of new regulation to curb greenwashing. The Directive on Green Claims will result in ban of the term ‘carbon neutral’ by 2026 and require third- party auditing of all environmental claims and pledges that lack suitable verification. Travel companies with sustainability strategies centered on 100% carbon neutral claims are expected to begin incorporating a portfolio approach to climate in the coming months.

2. Our new sustainable aviation fuel provider, Neste, has pioneered and tested in partnership with DHL - a global leader in the logistics industry - a new system through which SAF purchasers can verifiably report the emission reduction achieved through SAF to reduce the carbon footprint from air travel and transport.

It is called the ISCC Credit Transfer System and was developed by ISCC, an independent, multi-stakeholder driven non-profit organization with a long history in supply chain certification. Dr. Klaus Hufschlag, SVP Sustainability Reporting & Controlling at DHL said, "At DHL Group, we are already using significant amounts of sustainable aviation fuel to replace kerosine. It is very important for us that there is a registry that ensures transparency and reliability of sustainability claims related to the use of SAF. A registry that regulates all necessary information from fuel suppliers as well as producers and provides traceability along the value chain is key for credible transactions and builds the basis for a trustworthy book and claim mechanism." Find out more here.

3. The consulting firm BCG recently released an in-depth study on carbon removal and it offers helpful perspective on the broader dynamics of the fast-evolving carbon removal sector for our early adopter community. The report is based on select interviews and a survey of 100+ corporate buyers of carbon removal. Here are the highlights that jumped out for us at Tomorrow's Air:

  • Buyers surveyed for this study are taking a portfolio approach that focuses on quality: ~77% said that they first optimize for credit quality versus quantity. Like the travel businesses participating in Tomorrow’s Air, corporate buyers are taking a portfolio approach with quality defined as removal credits that provide permanence, verifiability, additionality. 
  • Buyers would like durable CDR to make up a larger percentage of their carbon credit portfolio over time (~34% in 2030 up to ~48% in 2040). I’ve also been hearing this from our travel business partners - a desire to see carbon removal commitments expand over time.
  • Voluntary demand for CDR will grow, driven by an increase in Net Zero pledges. The trend away from carbon neutral claims to more comprehensive net zero commitments is clearly underway, and I wonder, especially with the new E.U. Directive of Green Claims whether we’ll see more travel companies follow this path as well in the coming months? 

4. If you live in the United States you might want to start following the progress of direct air capture plants under development in Texas and Louisiana. The Department of Energy will spend $1.2B on direct air capture facilities in the coming years. The awards represent the first phase of $3.5 billion in funding for DAC hubs set aside in last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and mark the first major governmental backing in the world for the emerging carbon capture technology. This article in Science magazine shares the science that’s driving the investments and the skeptical arguments against it. 

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