Enabling pre-commercial production of advanced aviation biofuel
Decarbonisation of the aviation transport sector and reducing its dependence on fossil fuel requires liquid biofuels even in the longer term. Accelerating the deployment of advanced biofuel technologies for use in aviation will allow competitive production of biojet fuels on commercial scale, increase their attractiveness and facilitate achievement of the EU Biofuel FlightPath targets. Therefore, the specific challenge is to enable commercial production of sustainable and cost-competitive advanced biofuels aimed for use in the aviation sector. In particular, supporting the accomplishment of pre-commercial plant(s) for advanced biofuels for aviation based on sustainable biomass feedstock is essential.
Proposals shall aim at moving technologies that have already reached TRL 5-6 to TRL 6-7 (please see part G of the General Annexes) through novel industrial demonstration projects which support the innovative integration of production processes for advanced biofuels for aviation into first–of-a-kind or existing industrial scale plants. Projects should target the most promising advanced aviation biofuel production pathways incorporating upgrading technologies and valorisation of co-products that improve the economic viability of the fuel production. The ultimate production target of aviation biofuel for the complete plant shall be in the range of several tens of thousand tonnes per year. The aviation biofuel must be fully compliant with international aviation fuel standards and therefore suitable for commercial flight operations. Where relevant, projects should also make use of existing infrastructures for transportation, logistics, and fuelling for performing commercial flights with the produced fuel. Relevant datasets shall be collected for these operations.
Environment, economic and social issues including health and safety should be considered in the whole life cycle and appropriately addressed. A methodology that enables robust and reliable assessment of the environmental (notably in terms of GHG) performance, economic and social benefits with respect to current technologies should be included.
In addition, proposals shall address the entire value chain including the supply chain of sustainable biomass feedstock and the actual use of the produced biofuel in aviation.
Biofuels produced from starch, sugar and oil fractions of food/feed crops are excluded.
Proposals shall explicitly address performance and cost targets together with relevant key performance indicators and the expected impacts. Industrial involvement in the consortium and explicit exploitation plans are a prerequisite.
Proposals shall include a work package on the business case of the overall business solution and which identifies potential issues of public acceptance, market and regulatory barriers along the entire value chain. It should also address, where appropriate, synergies between new and existing technologies and other socio-economic and environmental aspects from a life-cycle perspective. Furthermore, they shall address the risks (feedstock, technological, business, process) and their possible mitigation. A signed off-take agreement with one or more airlines or alternative similar agreements should be envisaged in the proposal. In the event of a grant award the off-take agreement must be signed before signature of the grant agreement.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 to 15 million in 2016 and 5 to 10 million in 2017 would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately while maximizing the acceptable production pathways. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Demonstrating advanced biofuel technologies for aviation at large industrial scale will respond to the EU FlightPath objectives for commercial deployment and realisation of aviation biofuels and its target of using 2 million tons aviation biofuel by 2020. Favourable energy and GHG balances are expected. The demonstrated industrial concepts should ensure the techno-economic feasibility of the entire value chain and have the potential for a significant social and economic impact, notably in terms of job creation, economic growth and contribution to the decarbonisation of the aviation sector in addition to supporting advancement of the regulatory framework.