France has an ambitious roadmap for low-carbon aviation

France roadmap for low-carbon aviation.

Since the Paris Air Show is in full swing, now is a good time to talk about the roadmap for low-carbon aviation. The sector, which accounts for 2.5% of CO2 emissions, is aiming for carbon neutrality. And France is at the forefront of the subject. Sustainable fuels and hydrogen will definitely play a role.

The roadmap takes into account the ambitions of the French government (as part of the Low Carbon National Strategy), as well as those of Europe as part of the Green Deal. It has been drawn up on the basis of the model for projecting decarbonisation trajectories for aviation developed by the Office national d’études et de recherches aérospatiales* (ONERA) in 2019. The model has been adapted and improved, in particular to determine energy requirements
(biomass, low-carbon electricity) that would be required for the chosen decarbonisation trajectories.

Thresholds for France and internationally

In an “Action” scenario for France, the industry projects that by 2050, almost 80% of its activity will be carbon-free. Residual emissions are offset and net zero carbon is thus achieved. This scenario matches the objectives of the SNBC 2 for 2030 and allows for higher objectives for 2050. Decarbonisation accelerates after 2030, thanks in particular to the increased use of SAF (sustainable aviation fuels) and the roll-out of more efficient aircraft. An “Acceleration” scenario projects decarbonised activity at 92% by 2050. It is more proactive from 2030 onwards.

Internationally, in the “Action” scenario, the industry projects that 77% of its activity will be carbon-free by 2050. An “Acceleration” scenario allows for decarbonisation of up to 91%. This will be achieved by incorporating more SAF from 2030 onwards and by accelerating on innovation.

Sustainable fuels and hydrogen

Among the actions to be taken, the roadmap mentions the roll-out of more energy-efficient aircraft by manufacturers and their acquisition by airlines; continued research into the new generation of ultra-efficient aircraft and an incorporation amounting to 100% of SAF into fleets; and the development of hydrogen technologies.

Would you like to find out more about the roadmap for low-carbon aviation? You can read the document here on the GIFAS** website. The group is also present at the Paris Air Lab, an area at the heart of the Paris Air Show dedicated exclusively to innovations about low-carbon aircraft.

You can read our article on President Macron’s announcements on low-carbon aircraft here.

*ONERA is the French national aerospace research centre.

**The GIFAS (Groupement des industries françaises aéronautiques et spatiales) is the French Aerospace Industries Association

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

Logan King

Logan King

After an unusual career (3 years in the French army followed by a 3-year degree in Applied Foreign Languages), it was my passion for environmental issues that finally caught up with me and led me to join Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022. First as an end-of-study internship, then as Marketing & Communication Manager and translator at Hydrogen Today.

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