The European Union aims to have 10 percent renewable energy usage, such as biofuels, by 2020 in the transport sector of every EU country, the European Commission announced on Monday.
As part of the EU's attempts to increase usage of advanced biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels in all types of transport, a recent European Commission funded study investigated and determined which types of biofuels and blends are most suitable for use in the aviation sector.
"Aviation is the only transport sector that will have to rely exclusively on liquid hydrocarbon fuels for the foreseeable future. As a result, it is especially important to find ways to increase its use of biofuels," the Commission noted.
The study showed that burning drop-in biofuels leads to considerably lower emissions of soot and aerosol particles compared to kerosene, a light fuel oil obtained by distilling petroleum and used especially in jet engines.
"This lowers the initial ice crystal number concentrations of contrails, a beneficial effect for climate," the study argued.
Drop-in biofuels have marginally higher energy content than kerosene and a little more water vapor is emitted per kilogram of fuel burnt, according to the study.
The climate effect of aviation can also be reduced by steering clear of sensitive regions and times, using reliable weather forecasts for flight routing and for prediction of the individual climate effect of each flight, it added.
Lastly, the Commission noted that 10 percent biofuel usage in the transport sector would help the EU meet its long-term target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85-90 percent by 2050 compared with 1990, as biofuels create fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.
By Ebru Sengul