The EU Infrastructure Fund is interested in African clean jet fuel initiatives

The European Union is exploring opportunities in Africa to support projects that promote clean jet fuel, as part of its Global Gateway infrastructure fund. This move comes in anticipation of a growing demand for eco-friendly air travel. The EU has promised to allocate half of its 300 billion euro ($324 billion) infrastructure plan, which is viewed as a competitor to China's Belt and Road Initiative, towards Africa. 


The fund has already invested in renewable energy plants, green hydrogen projects, vaccinations, and education initiatives in the region. Now, it is considering sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). A spokesperson for the European Commission, Stefan De Keersmaecker, said, "In the context of the Global Gateway, the Commission is currently looking into possible co-financing mechanisms and guarantee instruments. 

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SAF production in the African continent has great potential." SAFs are low-carbon alternatives to traditional aviation fuel and can be produced from a range of crops and other feedstock sources. By December 31, the EU will launch a 4 million euro capacity-building program to support SAF feasibility studies and accreditation in 11 African nations and India. 

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The aviation industry is responsible for over 2% of global energy-related emissions. As a result, the EU has mandated emissions reduction goals that will necessitate airlines to use more SAF. This shift will result in a yearly global demand of 450 billion liters of SAF by 2050, according to the International Air Transport Association. Africa's extensive unused agricultural land has become increasingly appealing as a result. However, there is currently no SAF production on the continent, and establishing feedstock supply chains will be challenging. Experts have warned that inadequate infrastructure, limited refining capacity, and inadequate regulations in Africa could put a damper on projects and raise costs. Nonetheless, firms such as Italy's Eni, South Africa's Sasol, Germany's Linde, and Danish firm Topsoe are proceeding with investments in African SAF and biofuels. The African Civil Aviation Commission's environmental manager, Franklin Omondi, stated that the group hopes to launch SAF production in at least two African countries in the near future, with the possibility of a third. South Africa, Kenya, and Ethiopia are all potential candidates, according to him.

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