Groups want accurate LCA for any sustainable aviation fuel tax credits

Congress is considering a tax incentive for sustainable aviation fuels, and biofuel and ag groups are asking that any credit be based on up-to-date life cycle carbon assessment (LCA) methods.

Ed Hubbard, general counsel and vice president for government affairs with the Renewable Fuels Association, says the groups would like to see the Department of Energy become the lead agency in establishing carbon intensity estimates.

“Current legislation relies heavily on modeling from the International Civil Aviation Organization, and we have some concerns with that,” he says. “…we believe that the most effective and scientifically-sound model that exists today is the Argonne GREET Model that is followed and used by the Department of Energy. There are other models out there. EPA has a model that hasn’t been updated since 2009. Our concerns are that this legislation says that the modeling that’s used has to be the same or as stringent as the International Civil Aviation Organization model and we just don’t think that model is up-to-date and reflects the current state of affairs of the technology around the industry so that creates a foundational issue that can become problematic when determining eligibility for sustainability in aviation fuels and those models that we’re using just don’t cut the mustard.”

Hubbard says RFA recognizes the need for federal tax incentives to help decarbonize aviation fuels with low carbon liquid fuels.

“We know there is a big challenge with fossil fuel-based aviation fuel, and we want to make sure that this effort is successful, which includes making sure the modeling is right and that we’re moving promptly toward this transition,” he says.

The groups say the LCA for petroleum jet fuels must also be based updated to ensure a fair comparison between the fuel. They recommend that Congress designate a baseline carbon intensity value for fossil jet fuel.

RFA, Growth Energy, American Farm Bureau, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means on Friday.

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