The use of renewable jet fuels (RJFs) is an option for meeting the greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction targets of the aviation sector. Therefore, most of the studies have focused on climate change indicators, but other environmental impacts have been disregarded. In this paper, an attributional life cycle assessment is performed for ten RJF pathways in Brazil, considering the environmental trade-offs between climate change and seven other categories, i.e., fossil depletion, terrestrial acidification, eutrophication, human and environmental toxicity, and air quality-related categories, such as particulate matter and photochemical oxidant formation. The scope includes sugarcane and soybean for first-generation (1G) pathways and residual materials (wood and sugarcane residues, beef tallow, and used cooking oil-UCO) for second-generation (2G) pathways. Three certified technologies to produce RJF are considered: hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), alcohol-to-jet (ATJ), and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). Assuming the residual feedstocks as wastes or by-products, the 2G pathways are evaluated by two different approaches, in which the biomass sourcing processes are either accounted for or not. Results show that 1G pathways lead to significant GHG reductions compared to fossil kerosene from 55% (soybean/HEFA) to 65% (sugarcane/ATJ). However, the sugarcane-based pathway generated three-fold higher values than fossil kerosene for terrestrial acidification and air quality impacts, and seven-fold for eutrophication. In turn, soybean/HEFA caused five-fold higher levels of human toxicity. For 2G pathways, when the residual feedstock is assumed to be waste, the potential GHG emission reduction is over 74% with no relevant trade-offs. On the other hand, if the residual feedstocks are assumed as valuable by-products, tallow/HEFA becomes the worst option and pathways from sugarcane residues, even providing a GHG reduction of 67% to 94%, are related to higher impacts than soybean/HEFA for terrestrial acidification and air quality. FT pathways represent the lowest impacts for all categories within both approaches, followed by UCO/HEFA.


  • The international civil aviation sector has set ambitious targets to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2050 relative to 2005 levels. (ICAO, 2016)

  • Renewable Jet Fuel (RJF) from 1G pathways (i.e., Soy oil/hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) and SC_1G/ATJ) lead to higher impacts along its life cycle than second-generation ethanol from syngas fermentation (2Gs) pathways at System 1 (S1), mainly due to the environmental burden related to the upstream stage

  • While RJF pathways provide lower global-scale impact than fossil kerosene (Jet A), such as climate change and fossil depletion, relevant trade-offs are observed in categories related to local impacts, such as eutrophication, toxicity and air quality-related categories

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The international civil aviation sector has set ambitious targets to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2050 relative to 2005 levels. (ICAO, 2016). The technologies used to produce RJFs fall into three groups (Cortez et al, 2014): lipid conversion (Pearlson, 2011), thermochemical, (Klerk, 2011) and biochemical processes (Moreira et al, 2014; Staples et al, 2014) From these three groups, five technologies have been approved by the ASTM (2019) with different blending restrictions: hydrotreating oil-based feedstocks (hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids, HEFA), dehydration and oligomerization of iso-butanol or ethanol (alcohol-to-jet, ATJ), direct conversion of sugar to hydrocarbons (DCSH), and the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process. An accelerated deployment of sustainable biofuels is required to reach low carbon scenarios in the coming decades (Feuvre, 2018), with competitive costs and meeting sustainability standards In this context, Brazil is considered as a potential supplier of RJF because of its large biomass production and technical experience in bioenergy (Cortez et al, 2014). The 33.5 million tons of wood residue available in 7.7 million ha of planted forests (IBA, 2017), along with bagasse surplus and sugarcane cane straw, are potentially relevant feedstocks for bioenergy production in Brazil, including RJF


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