Aviation fuel: Environmentalists charge FG on sustainability


By Tobi Adetunji

In a bid to curb the carbon dioxide emission caused by air travel, environmentalists have said that the Federal government needs take a cue from the United Kingdom’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) plan.

The UK government recently said on its website that its SAF plan included proposals of up to 10 per cent SAF by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050, which would generate a potential savings of up to 23 megatons of CO2 per year in 2050.

Aviation, however, is responsible for 2.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

An environmentalist and the Executive Secretary of Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resources Centre, Sulaimon Arigbabu, in an interview with Nigerian NewsDirect, said, “SAF refers to an emerging aviation fuel solution that drives a net-zero carbon and zero carbon footprint print.

“This simply refers to two critical outcomes of the fuel: that the fuel is produced from waste recycling and other non-fossil fuel, and that the fuel is easily and totally combusted without emitting carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide.”

According to him, the transportation sector globally contributes the most to greenhouse gas emissions and the aviation sector is a major part of that.

Arigbabu said, “The UK, which is one of the major aviation hubs, has made pledges to cut carbon emissions and it is decisions like this that would drive the achievement of such commitment.

“There is a feasible alternative to aviation fuel and the entire aviation system as we know it. And the UK is taking the lead both in research and political will to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector.”

According to him, Nigeria, a hydrocarbon-based economy needs to be concerned as the world keeps looking for cleaner and more sustainable fuel for the aviation and other sectors of human endeavor.

“This has implications for our economy and thus the need to quickly diversify and also latch on to the trend for cleaner and better efficient technologies,” Arigbabu added.

Another environmentalist and Chief Executive Officer of MS and Associates Limited, Michael Simire, described SAF as a sort of a clean substitute for the traditional fossil jet fuel.

According to him, it is an aviation biofuel or bio-jet-fuel because rather than being refined from petroleum, sustainable aviation fuel is produced from sustainable resources such as waste oils from a biological origin.

He said Nigeria should be involved in the SAF plan.

“We should be concerned about aviation’s contribution to global carbon dioxide emissions because even though aviation accounts for only around 2.5 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, its overall contribution to climate change is higher.