Low-carbon fuel for aviation could be transitionary fuel of the future: Saudi energy minister
May 9, 2022
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  • Low-carbon fuel could help the aviation sector transition to greener forms of energy, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister claimed while speaking at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh.  

    Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman made the remarks as he highlighted the importance of going green and sustainability to the sector. 

    The minister noted that achieving sustainability cannot be done by just relying on biofuels, and all options — including hydrogen —should be considered to ensure a better low-carbon future.  

    “You can’t make a conclusion by saying ‘I will do this and that’. You have got quite a few choices, you have got to look at all those choices including working hard on land and aviation operations,” he said adding: “You could use electric cars and even greening airports by itself, every component you could enhance in this holistic approach, the circular carbon economy approach can help.” 

    The circular carbon approach is the process by which carbon dioxide is captured from hydrocarbon production, coal, and natural gas power plants. 

    The prince added that synthetic fuel will be produced from the collected carbon dioxide.  

    He also noted that the gap between crude oil prices and prices for jet fuel, diesel and gasoline is down to the lack of refining capacity.  

    The drive towards greener fuels was also commented on by International Air Transport Association director general, Willie Walsh.  

    In his remarks to the forum, Walsh emphasised that the industry is committed to achieving net-zero by 2050, despite the challenges this involves.  

    Sounding a cautionary note, he made it clear that these initiatives would cost a lot of money, and would need greater commitment from the financial community to allocate funding to help achieve this target. 

    While the use of hydrogen as aviation fuel has been much talked about in recent months, Walsh indicated that a complex process was involved to achieve this. 

    He said countries should initially develop aircraft engines that can use this energy source. 

    Walsh also claimed China’s zero-COVID-19 policy is impossible to achieve and has led to a slow-down in the aviation sector’s recovery from the pandemic.