The transport sector faces a big energy challenge as it looks for more sustainable and diversified sources and with a lower environmental impact. Although electrification seems to be the future solution for light-duty engines, biofuels remain as a very interesting alternative in the midterm as well as a potential solution for medium and heavy-duty diesel applications. Recently, European institutions have agreed specific targets for the new Renewable Energy Directive including 14% of renewable energy in rail and road transport by 2030.
There is growing interest toward the uptake by aviation of non-fossil, bio-based drop-in fuels. The main drivers behind this are the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and GHG emissions in a rapidly growing sector; 7.2 billion air passengers are expected to travel in 2035, nearly double the 3.8 billion in 2016 according to the International Air Transport Association.
They consider renewable jet fuel usage will remain low in the absence of an external incentive; but with large incentives they could reach an inclusion rate as high as 20% of total jet fuel use by 2030. Nonetheless, industry continues to make small scale initiatives towards developing alternative jet fuel use. The number of projects attempting to develop non-fossil, bio-based, drop-in aviation fuels are increasing (according to the UN agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation. the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) was revised to include emissions from all flights from, to and within the European Economic Area (EEA) applying to EU and non-EU airlines alike. To allow ICAO time to negotiate a global market-based measure for international aviation emissions, the EU ETS requirements were suspended for non-domestic EU flights: for the period 2013–2016, the legislation was amended so only emissions from flights within the EEA fall under EU ETS.