MTU is also focusing on alternative, sustainable fuels known as sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). We want to shift away from burning fossil fuels because the only way to achieve the ambitious climate protection goals for 2050 is through the use of sustainable, renewable alternatives.
Currently, only biomass-based fuels are available in larger quantities. Using such fuels leads to a direct improvement in aviation’s carbon footprint; the inputs for their production, however, would often otherwise be used for food, thus giving rise to the food vs. fuel debate.
This explains why the future is likely to belong to power-to-liquid (PtL) and sun-to-liquid (StL) fuels, which are produced using green electricity and solar energy, respectively. Given that SAFs meet the specifications for aviation fuel, they can be used in the existing infrastructure as “drop-in” fuels.
In the long term, hydrogen is also a viable option, as it is more efficient than PtL fuels and less expensive to produce; however, it requires new infrastructure and new aircraft designs.