Back 28.11.2014

Finland aims at deploying biofuels in aviation

Finland is well-positioned to put renewable aviation fuels to extensive and continuous use. The biggest challenge is profitability, as biofuel is currently significantly more expensive than fossil aviation fuel.

Climate change and the depletion of natural resources force aviation, among other industries, to find replacements for fossil fuels. The high price of biofuels has, however, prevented their extensive use until now.

Gaia, Finnair, Finavia, Neste Oil, the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy have collaborated to compile a set business models that could enable the profitable use of biofuels in aviation. The report presents a concept, in which trendsetter companies can act as trailblazers by favouring biofuels in their business travel. Private air passengers would also be able to choose biofuels. In the implementation stage, the project would receive government subsidies but customers’ interest and willingness to pay would determine the extent of biofuel use.

According to the concept, Neste Oil would produce biofuel that is suitable for aviation, i.e. aviation quality renewable biobased diesel, in its Sköldvik refinery in Porvoo. International approval for the use of biodiesel as aviation fuel is currently being prepared. Biodiesel is significantly cheaper to produce than the biokerosene that is currently used in aviation.

Biofuels can reduce the dependence of aviation on fossil fuels and cut its greenhouse gas emissions. The greenhouse gas emissions of biofuels are 40–90 percent lower, depending on the raw material, than the emissions of corresponding fossil fuels.

“The International Air Transport Association IATA has set an ambitious target for cutting the emissions from aviation. We need to deploy biofuels to reach this target because global air traffic increases by approximately 5 percent every year,” says Leading Consultant Päivi Luoma from Gaia.

The use of biofuels would strengthen Finland’s reputation as an innovative pioneer in cleantech and bioeconomy. Furthermore, it would open an entirely new business area to many Finnish companies and increase Helsinki Airport’s position and appeal as an important airline hub between Europe and Asia. The participating companies will next decide how they will proceed with the report and concept.

More information:

  • Päivi Luoma, Leading Consultant, Gaia Consulting, +358 50 430 8866
  • Kaisa Hietala, Vice President of Renewable Fuels, Neste Oil, +358 50 458 4128
  • Kati Ihamäki, Vice President, Sustainable Development, Finnair Oyj, +358 40 582 2107
  • Mikko Viinikainen, Vice President, Sustainability & Environment, Finavia Oyj, +358 40 530 2646
  • Anna Sotaniemi, Ministerial Counsellor, Ministry of Transport and Communications, +358 29 534 2491
  • Juho Korteniemi, Ministerial Advisor, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, +358 29 506 0016