On an average, the aviation sector consumes 10% of the total energy required in the transportation segment per annum. Aviation transport produces significant amount of carbon emissions per annum; up to 781 million tons of CO2 was pumped into the atmosphere in 2015. Thus, replacements for aviation fuels by ecofriendly and alternative fuels are largely promoted across the globe.
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Aviation alternative fuels are fuels are environmentally friendly and sustainable, however, these fuels are better than petroleum based fuels with regard to the impression on air quality post combustion only. Advanced biofuels are strong contenders for replacing petroleum based aviation fuels in the near future, as these fuels are equally safe and offer better performance.
Rise in concerns about environmental protection, global warming, and climate changes is driving the aviation alternative fuels market. Various companies, organizations, and governments are investing in research, development, and commercialization of alternative fuels for aviation. Evolution of technologies has substantially reduced the cost of manufacturing these fuels, resulting in economical alternatives for fossil fuels. Moreover, rapid growth in the aviation industry, which is expanding at a CAGR of 5% per annum, is likely to propel the demand for aviation alternative fuels during the forecast period.
Increase in trade, which results in rise in logistics, is also expected to boost the aviation alternative fuels market. However, several challenges and concerns are hampering the market growth. Storage of biodiesel for long time can be challenging; if stored for longer period of time at lower temperature, these fuels tend to oxidize resulting in jellification. These fuels have the potential to curb the rising pollution and carbon emissions; however, biofuels directly compete with agriculture and food production for resources, resulting in straining the natural resources. Furthermore, the high quality standards for fuels and their safe transportation during flights is also expected to impact the demand for these fuels.
Based on fuel type, the aviation alternative fuels market can be divided into biofuels, CNG, LNG, and others. Biofuels can further be divided into Hydrogenated Easters & Fatty Acids (HEFA), Hydrogenated Pyrolysis Oil (HPO), Fischer-Tropsch (FT) based on biomass, and renewable Synthesized Iso-paraffin fuels (SIP), and others. Among these, the biofuels sub-segment is anticipated to expand substantially, as it is in a rapid development phase. Biofuels are primarily made from vegetable oils such as camellia and jatropha, sugar crops, cereals, and algae. Thus, the feedstock is available in abundance.
In terms of geography, the market for aviation alternative fuels can be divided into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Developed regions such as North America and Europe are the key markets for aviation alternative fuels. Implementation of stringent government regulations, increase in awareness regarding environmental protection, robust technological developments, and sufficient finances are some of the factors propelling the growth of alternative fuels for aviation in these region.
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Asia Pacific is also slated to be a significant market for aviation alternative fuels; China, India, and ASEAN are expected to witness substantial increase in number of passengers commuting via air transport per annum during the forecast period. The market in Latin America, especially in Brazil, is also expected to expand significantly in the near future.
Major players operating in the global aviation alternative fuels market include Solazyme, Honeywell UOP, Imperium Renewables, Renewable Energy Group, and Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation.