US airlines team up with farmers in corn SAF lobby

US airlines have joined forces with farmers to lobby in Washington for corn to be one of the major crops to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). New tax rules, to be issued by the government in September, could offer a boost for corn ethanol’s prospects as a SAF.

The airlines – such as SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines – have been facing pressure to cut emissions. They have pledged net zero emissions by 2050, a plan that relies heavily on the production of SAF. The fuel, often made from cooking oil or animal fats, is in scarce supply. Tax incentives for growing corn could help change this situation.

Getty Images

With airlines in need of a product and biofuel refiners looking for a new market, they have allied to include ethanol in the plane fuel mix. The airlines, joined by international oil companies including BP and Shell, want to push federal tax officials to embrace an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions that would make ethanol eligible for more generous tax credits.

The aviation industry wants the US government to create incentives to make more sustainable fuel, as supply can currently hardly keep up with demand.