Sustainable Plant Oil Production for Aviation Fuels - Assessment Challenges and Consequences for New Feedstock Concepts

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012, pp. 186-217

34 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2012 Last revised: 15 May 2013

See all articles by Florian Lüdeke-Freund

Florian Lüdeke-Freund

University of Hamburg, Chair of Capital Markets and Management; Leuphana University, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM)

David Walmsley

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology

Mirco Plath

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology

Jan Wreesmann

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology

Alexandra-Maria Klein

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology; University of Freiburg

Date Written: August 30, 2012

Abstract

Purpose: This article addresses aviation as an emerging biofuel consumer and discusses sustainability issues and consequences for feedstock production concepts. Biojet fuels have been identified as a promising, readily deployable alternative to fossil-based aviation fuels. At the same time they are highly criticised as their production may have negative social and environmental impacts. Therefore, major sustainability issues and assessment challenges are identified and related to the production of biojet fuel feedstock. Two plant oil production concepts are presented that address the sustainability issues discussed. Both concepts are being investigated within the research project “Platform for Sustainable Aviation Fuels”.

Design/methodology/approach: A literature-based overview of sustainability issues and assessment challenges is provided. Additionally, conceptual insights into new plant oil production concepts are presented.

Findings: The use of biojet fuels is often hailed as a strategy for the aviation industry to become more sustainable. However, biofuels are not necessarily sustainable and their potential to reduce GHG emissions is highly debated. Several unresolved sustainability issues are identified highlighting the need for improved assessment methods. Moreover, the two concepts presented have the potential to provide sustainably grown feedstock, but further empirical research is needed.

Originality/value: This article addresses researchers and practitioners by providing an overview of sustainability issues and assessment challenges related to biojet fuels. Consequences are identified for two plant oil feedstock concepts: i) catch cropping in temperate regions and ii) silvopastoral systems in tropical and subtropical regions.

Note: This paper has been chosen as a Highly Commended Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013.

Keywords: aviation, airlines, biofuel, biomass, catch cropping, conservation, ecosystem service, climate change, silvopastoral system, sustainability accounting

JEL Classification: O13, Q42, L93, Q01, Q56

Suggested Citation

Lüdeke-Freund, Florian and Walmsley, David and Plath, Mirco and Wreesmann, Jan and Klein, Alexandra-Maria, Sustainable Plant Oil Production for Aviation Fuels - Assessment Challenges and Consequences for New Feedstock Concepts (August 30, 2012). Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012, pp. 186-217. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2160463

Florian Lüdeke-Freund (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg, Chair of Capital Markets and Management ( email )

Faculty of Business, Economics & Social Sciences
Von-Melle-Park 9
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.SustainableBusinessModel.org

Leuphana University, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) ( email )

Faculty of Sustainability
Scharnhorststr. 1
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

David Walmsley

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology ( email )

Scharnhorststrasse 1
Lüneburg, 21314
Germany

Mirco Plath

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology ( email )

Scharnhorststrasse 1
Lüneburg, 21314
Germany

Jan Wreesmann

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology ( email )

Scharnhorststrasse 1
Lüneburg, 21314
Germany

Alexandra-Maria Klein

Leuphana University - Institute for Ecology ( email )

Scharnhorststrasse 1
Lüneburg, 21314
Germany

University of Freiburg

Fahnenbergplatz
Freiburg, D-79085
Germany

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