Given the urgency to decarbonize the airline industry worldwide, intensified by international agreements signed in recent years, the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) has been consolidated as the main strategy for such an endeavor. Current efforts are aimed not only at improving the chemical and technological processes to produce this alternative fuel, but also at the actions necessary to create a market for SAF. However, SAF production possibilities are often concentrated in specific countries, located in regions with a high availability of relevant raw materials, such as renewable energy. Therefore, players in the airline sector started to consider the Book and Claim mechanism as a solution to circumvent the complexities of export and import.

In this context, the project ProQR – Climate Neutral Alternative Fuels, of the Brazil-Germany technical cooperation, through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, engaged in promoting a dialogue forum regarding SAF in Brazil, presents the Webinar: “Book and Claim – Approaches for the future of Sustainable Aviation Fuels”. The dialogue covered international, national and sector perspectives on the Book and Claim practice and how it can influence the dynamics of the global SAF market. The virtual event, which took place on July 21st, 2022, was moderated by Tina Ziegler, director of the ProQR project, and included an opening speech by Eduardo Soriano, Director of the Applied Technologies Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI).

Check out the recording of the Webinar “Book and Claim – Approaches for the future of Sustainable Aviation Fuels”.

Getting to know the subject

The Book and Claim system proposes that states and companies (such as airlines and airports) count the environmental benefits of using SAF – such as reducing emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and contributing to carbon neutrality targets – without the need to physically own and consume the SAF. In other words, with the use of the system, the consumption of SAF is not restricted to a physical chain, which results in benefits both for consumers, who can advance in their carbon reduction goals, and for producers, who can enter the global market with greater prospects for growth. Given the challenge of internationally consolidating a technology that is still new, but extremely necessary for the decarbonisation of aviation, B&C would act as a catalyst for the economic and logistical viability of SAF.

With this mechanism, the logistical displacement of the fuel is avoided as it can be used at the nearest point of consumption. In addition, SAF transport costs are also minimised. Considering the determinations of emissions reduction, this system may favour the creation of a global market for this carbon credit transactions, also stimulating the creation of solutions for regulating these credits. Even if not using physical SAF, the States and companies that adopt the Book and Claim practice will be stimulating the manufacturing of sustainable fuel in producing countries.

How the Book and Claim system works. Source: PtX Hub

International dialogue on the feasibility of Book and Claim

Presenting the international technical and conceptual overview of the Book and Claim system was Sonia Rueda, renewable energy expert at the Power-to-X Hub Berlin (PtX Hub), an initiative implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The PtX Hub seeks to promote the transition of global energy matrices from fossil fuels to renewable energies. From this perspective, Sonia Rueda explained how the Book and Claim system works and its potential to boost the international SAF market.

Another international perspective was presented by Pedro de la Fuente, Senior Manager of External Relations and Sustainability for the Americas of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In his speech, he stressed the importance of the commitments made by the airline industry to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and how the use of SAF is the most viable strategy to achieve this goal. However, de la Fuente pointed to the limited number of production sites as one of the biggest challenges to building a global SAF market, as it leaves the alternative fuel out of reach for potential consumers.

Book and Claim can provide a solution to this challenge by linking suppliers with consumers that are not physically connected and thus thriving the uptake of SAF in the market.

This geographical flexibility that the Book and Claim system allows the sustainable fuel market imposes the need for a precise certification process. It is through this process that SAF consumers will be able to claim the reduction in carbon emissions resulting from the use of fuel purchased through Book and Claim and which has remained in the physical distribution chain of its place of production.

Both Sonia Rueda and Pedro de la Fuente point out the challenge in ensuring that carbon credits from SAF are counted only once, for which an effective and enforced certification registration process must be applied. To this end, de la Fuente highlights IATA’s work in seeking to propose to countries that they enter into an agreement with the United Nations to create a Book and Claim registration accounting system, through which it would be possible to access information on the availability and use of carbon credits from SAF.

Book and Claim and the future of the SAF market in Brazil

To share the Brazilian scientific and conceptual vision, ProQR invited Professor Lais Thomaz from the Federal University of Goiás (UFG), author of the “Study on Governance and Public Policies to Encourage the Production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels”. The professor presented an overview of the various models of chains of custody existing in the alternative fuels market, among them the Book and Claim system.

The study carried out by Thomaz analyses the Brazilian government’s increasingly intense initiatives to promote public policies encouraging SAF. In this context, many of the sector players in Brazil see Book and Claim as an interesting possibility to be regulated in order to boost the market. However, she stresses the importance of further studies on how the system could be inserted in the Brazilian context of SAF production.

Also participating in the event was Renato Dutra, general coordinator of Biodiesel and Other Biofuels in the Biofuels Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), who presented a government perspective on the system. Dutra discussed the benefits of applying the system in the construction of a Brazilian SAF market whose production would be aimed at both export and domestic consumption. In this context, the Book and Claim system would make it possible to minimise the costs and environmental impacts associated with transporting fuel out of the country, as well as to major domestic airports.

The feasibility of the production and use of SAF in Brazil was one of the themes analysed in the scope of the National Fuel of the Future Programme, coordinated by the MME between 2021 and 2022. According to Dutra, the B&C system is aligned with the premises approved by the ProBioQAV Subcommittee, responsible for structuring the guidelines in favour of the insertion of SAF in the Brazilian energy matrix. In addition to representatives from government and academia, actors from the Brazilian industry and airline sector contributed to the inclusion of the system as a strategy to be taken into consideration in the promotion of public policies encouraging SAF. In his speech, Dutra pointed out the formation of a study group on the feasibility of applying Book and Claim, which in the coming months should present results to the Brazilian Ministry of Infrastructure (MInfra).

Vitória Souza contributed to this article.

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