27 April 2023

CDR and SAFs on the runway to net zero aviation

Ted Christie-Miller

Director of Carbon Removal

Sofía Ordozgoiti

Research Associate

14 min

Aviation is a high-emitting industry, which is set to grow in emissions over the next three decades. It is one of the “high-hanging fruits” of decarbonisation because of the lack of mature technological solutions for decarbonisation. The key decarbonisation solutions for aviation are SAFs and engineered carbon removal solutions. Both solutions are nascent and expensive, but if the innovation curve can be climbed, the costs will come down. If we fail to bring down the costs of these technologies, consumers will be hit hard.

Key Takeaways:

1. In a case study of three airlines, the majority of credits bought to date have been on credits with low or a moderately low likelihood of achieving a tonne of carbon removed or avoided (BeZero Carbon Rating of C, B and BB).

2. If we fail to bring down costs of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) and engineered carbon removal credits, tickets could be 230% higher in 2050.

3. Up to 3.4 gigatonnes of carbon may need to be removed by 2050 to counterbalance non-CO emissions from aviation. Engineered carbon removal currently removes around 2 megatonnes of carbon a year

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