Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of the Environment Svenja Schulze and the President of the German Air Transport Association BDL, Peter Gerber, today signed the “PtL Roadmap” together with officials from other federal and state ministries along with representatives from the aviation and petroleum industries as well as plant manufacturers and operators.
With this shared roadmap, policymakers and industry agree on the necessary requirements and measures needed to establish and expand the production of power-to-liquid (PtL) kerosene over the next few years. The PtL Roadmap is intended to create the basis for producing at least 200,000 metric tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel annually for German air transport by 2030. This represents one-third of the current fuel requirements of domestic air traffic in Germany.
Electricity-based, sustainably produced fuels are among the most important building blocks for making carbon-neutral air travel possible. In the so-called power-to-liquid process, liquid jet fuels are made from hydrogen sustainably produced with additional renewable energies and sustainable carbon dioxide. The carbon may initially either originate from unavoidable CO2 sources, e.g., from bioenergy plants and industry, but in the future it is to be extracted from the atmosphere via technical processes. Since only the already collected CO2 is emitted when flying with PtL jet fuel, CO2 emissions in air traffic can thereby gradually be drastically reduced. Technically, the production processes have been tested to a large extent, but so far the fuels are neither available in relevant quantities nor at marketable prices. Industrial-scale production is lacking. The PtL Roadmap now shows how the market ramp-up of sustainable PtL jet fuels can succeed. With this roadmap, politics and industry are seizing the opportunity to establish and expand crucial industrial know-how and technological leadership in Germany in the production and use of sustainably produced electricity-based jet fuels.
The key measures and requirements relate to the technology, sustainability and market ramp-up for PtL fuel. Specifically, this entails:
- The technological development of the individual PtL production plants and components as well as their interaction on an industrial scale will be optimised: Demonstration and pilot plants must be created for this purpose, as although the production processes have been tested, until now they have only been on a laboratory scale. In order to also ensure smooth production processes on an industrial scale, the BMVI plans to establish a platform for the development, testing and demonstration of different production processes for PtL fuels, while the BMU plans to set up demonstration plants.
- Sustainability criteria must be defined in a uniform, binding and reliable ecological and social manner. Sustainable electricity-based aviation fuel can only be produced with additional renewable energy and must achieve a minimum reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In the further development of the sustainability criteria for PtL aviation fuel, the stakeholders of the roadmap will work towards establishing the highest possible binding standard at the European and international levels. These requirements should not only relate to the procurement of power, but also to other aspects such as water availability, land consumption and environmental compatibility.
- In supporting the market ramp-up, it is crucial that binding targets for the purchase and sale of renewable aviation fuel are defined, what regulatory framework conditions are required and what technology-neutral government support is necessary for a self-sustaining market: In this regard, the roadmap stipulates that the federal and state governments shall support the development and production of PtL aviation fuel and thus initially establish supply. By imposing a binding minimum quota on aviation fuels sold in Germany and a purchase obligation, it is ensured that demand and investment security are created for market participants despite the higher costs of the fuels. Distortions of competition for air transport should be avoided. Therefore, regulatory measures should be designed in such a way that they are both effective and competitively neutral. On this basis, the airlines commit to purchasing relevant quantities of PtL aviation fuel over the coming years.
Quotes from the signatories on the PtL Roadmap:
Bundesverkehrsminister Andreas Scheuer:
With the switch to electricity-based aviation fuel, we can save millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions in air transport. But electricity-based fuels are not yet produced in marketable quantities. The German federal government, states and industry have therefore developed a joint roadmap on how we can stimulate the market ramp-up in Germany. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has also commissioned the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), together with partners from research and industry, to draw up a concept for a production plant that will enable us to produce the fuel economically and accelerate its adoption. Our goal is to achieve climate-neutral flying.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze:
Electricity-based fuels represent the take-off for CO2-neutral air transport. After all, regular aircraft will not be able to fly electrically in the foreseeable future. PtL aviation fuel is therefore a key climate-friendly alternative to fossil fuel kerosene. Electricity-based fuels should emerge from the laboratory and find their way into industrial production as soon as possible. With the PtL Roadmap, politics and industry are jointly facing the great challenge of making air transport CO2-neutral. With the PtX-Lab Lausitz and the International PtX-Hub Berlin, the BMU is conducting pioneering work both nationally and internationally. We are currently transposing the European Directive for Renewable Energies in Transport into national law. In doing so, we are creating a sustainable basis for supporting the industrial production of PtL aviation fuel. The successively increasing statutory sub-quota for PtL aviation fuel envisaged by the German government will give a massive boost to its production from 2026 onwards. With the legal requirements, the German government is creating the necessary investment security that is urgently needed for the further development of climate-friendly technologies and the construction of production facilities. The PtL Roadmap flanks an important stage on the way to CO2 neutrality in air transport.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier:
With electricity-based aviation fuel made from green hydrogen, we are showing that flying and climate protection need not be at odds with each other. With this important step for the market ramp-up of green hydrogen, we aim to expand the technological leadership of German companies and advance the development of a global hydrogen economy. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs is supporting the market ramp-up through a variety of funding programmes and by shaping the regulatory framework. In this way, we are making an important contribution to the development of hydrogen technologies and to global climate protection.
Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller:
We need a global energy and mobility transition. This includes CO2-emission-free synthetic fuels – including that for air travel. We will not be able to meet the growing demand in Europe alone. As a next step, we need an energy and climate partnership with Africa. Because Africa has the sun, hydropower for production and many young, motivated people. In Morocco, German development cooperation is building a reference plant for green hydrogen and synthetic fuels. This strengthens Germany’s technological leadership, creates local jobs and is a very effective contribution towards climate protection.
State Minister Tarek Al-Wazir, Hessian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Transport and Housing:
While the expansion of rail and the intelligent linking of modes of transport will enable us to avoid short-haul flights in the future and shift other traffic flows, there will always be areas in which air transport is without alternative and on which we are dependent. We are united in our goal of systematically transforming air transport: It must become CO2-neutral and climate-friendly. It is important that we quickly take the step to build various production plants in the federal states with the help of federal support schemes in order to gain initial quantities of PtL aviation fuels and, above all, experience for the further market ramp-up. In Hesse, we have laid important foundations with the Centre of Competence for Climate and Noise Protection in Aviation. The roadmap also once again underscores how crucial the large-scale expansion of power generation from renewable energy sources in and outside Europe will be for achieving the Paris climate protection goals.
Peter Gerber, President of the German Air Transport Association BDL and CEO of Brussels Airlines:
Our aim is to fly carbon neutral. To achieve this goal, it is essential to replace fossil-based aviation fuel with sustainable aviation fuels. From an ecological point of view, the best solution in the long term is to use fuels produced from atmospheric CO2 with the help of renewable energies. That this can be achieved has been proven – and now politicians and industry will work together on the basis of the PtL Roadmap to ensure that these sustainable fuels are available in sufficient quantities and at competitive prices. We welcome the commitment that regulatory measures for the market ramp-up should be designed in such a way that they are not only effective but also competitively neutral. On this basis, we want to participate in the development of industrial facilities for the production of sustainable aviation fuels, for example in the form of purchase guarantees.
Reiner Winkler, BDLI Vice President Aviation and CEO of MTU Aero EnginesAG:
The energy transition in the skies is a task for society as a whole. Only sustainable aviation can ensure mobility and climate protection in the long term and thus retain the “licence to operate”. The measures described in the PtL Roadmap must be implemented quickly and resolutely in order to achieve the set climate targets. As a first step, this requires the rapid construction of pilot plants for the production of synthetic fuels in Germany. In addition to integrated flight systems, lightweight structures and digitalisation, innovative propulsion technologies are the most promising approach towards decarbonising air transport. We are seizing the opportunity now: Our highly innovative industry, together with our excellent R&D landscape, has the know-how to ensure that the climate-neutral aircraft of the future will come from Germany and Europe. Investments in innovation and technical progress pay dividends: The future of aviation is based on sustainability and climate neutrality.
Wolfgang Langhoff, Chairman of the Board of the German Petroleum Industry Association (MWV – Mineralölwirtschaftsverband) and Chairman of the Board of BP Europa SE:
We are convinced that the PtL Roadmap shows a resilient plan on how we can achieve the goal of decarbonising aviation efficiently and in close cooperation between politics and industry. 200,000 tonnes of PtL aviation fuel per year is a realistic first step that is by no means too small: It will enable the decarbonisation of about one third of all German domestic flights by 2030.
Dr. Uwe Lauber, Chairman of the VDMA Working Group “Power-to-X for Applications” and Chairman of the Executive Board, MAN Energy Solutions SE:
Electricity-based fuels are indispensable for climate-neutral aviation. The German mechanical and plant engineering industry is keen to make a contribution here by applying its engineering skills and technological leadership. The market ramp-up for “Power-to-X” must be initiated in this decade so that these technologies also become established internationally.
Responsibility for the development and implementation of the PtL Roadmap lies with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI – Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU – Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Nuklear Sicherheit) the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi – Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ – Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung), the federal states represented by the Hessian Minister of Transport Tarek Al Wazir, and on the industry side, the German Air Transport Association (BDL – Bundesverband der Deutschen Luftverkehrswirtschaft), the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI – Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie), the German Petroleum Industry Association (MWV – Mineralölwirtschaftsverband) and the “Power-to-X for Applications” working group of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA – Verband der Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau).