Today, Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and the president of the German aviation association BDL, Peter Gerber, signed the PtL Roadmap alongside representatives of other federal and ministries of the Länder, the aviation industry, mineral oil industry, mechanical and plant engineers. With this joint roadmap, policy-makers and industry have agreed on the requirements and measures needed to establish and expand production of kerosene from power-to-liquid technologies over the coming years. The PtL Roadmap will pave the way for annual production of at least 200,000 tonnes of sustainable kerosene for the German aviation industry by 2030. That is one third of Germany’s current fuel consumption for domestic flights.
Electricity-based, sustainably produced fuels are vital for making carbon-neutral flying possible. In power-to-liquid processes, liquid fuels are obtained from green hydrogen (produced sustainably from additional renewable energy sources) and sustainable carbon dioxide. Initially, unavoidable CO2 sources such as bioenergy installations and industry can serve as a source of carbon dioxide, but the goal for the future is to remove it directly from the atmosphere. Flights fuelled with power-to-liquid kerosene only emit CO2 that was previously bound from the atmosphere. This means that, over time, carbon emissions from aviation can be drastically reduced. Production processes have been comprehensively tested, but the fuels are yet to be available in appropriate quantities or at commercially viable prices. Large-scale industrial production is lacking. The PtL Roadmap sets out how the market ramp-up of sustainable electricity-based kerosene can be achieved. With the roadmap, policymakers and industry are seizing the opportunity for Germany to establish and build up crucial industrial expertise, becoming a technological leader in the production and use of sustainable, electricity-based aviation fuels.
The main measures and requirements focus on technology, sustainability and market ramp-up of PtL fuels. This means:
- Optimising technological development of power-to-liquid facilities and associated components and facilitating their integration into industrial scale production. Demonstration and pilot plants are needed to achieve this, as up to now trials on production processes have only been carried out under laboratory conditions. To ensure smooth production processes on an industrial scale as well, it is envisaged that the Federal Transport Ministry will establish a platform for the development, testing and demonstration of different power-to-liquid production processes, while the Federal Environment Ministry will set up demonstration plants.
- Sustainability criteria must be uniform and binding, as well as consistently environmentally sound and socially fair. Sustainable, electricity-based kerosene can only be produced from additional renewable energy sources and must demonstrate a specified greenhouse gas emissions reduction. As the sustainability criteria continue to be updated, those involved in the roadmap will press for the establishment of the most stringent possible binding European and international standards for the sustainability criteria. These standards should relate not only to the electricity consumption, but to aspects such as water availability, land use and environmental impacts as well.
- When supporting the market ramp-up it is vital to lay down binding targets for the use and sale of green kerosene, define the necessary regulatory framework conditions and determine what government support, open to all technologies, is needed to ensure a self-sustaining market. In this context, the PtL Roadmap sets out that the German government and the federal states will support the development and production of power-to-liquid kerosene in order to create an initial supply. A binding minimum quota on aviation fuels sold in Germany combined with a purchase obligation will secure demand and investment certainty for market players despite the higher costs of the fuels. This shall not lead to distortions of competition in the air transport sector. To this end, regulatory measures should be designed in such a way as to be effective and competition-neutral. On this basis, air carriers will commit to purchasing significant quantities of electricity-based kerosene in the coming years.
Comments by the signatories on the PtL Roadmap
Federal Environment Minister Schulze:
Electricity-based fuels are a boost for carbon-neutral aviation. Aircrafts in general air transportation will not be electrically-powered for the foreseeable future. Therefore, PtL kerosene represents an important climate-friendly alternative to fossil kerosene. Electricity-based fuels need to find their pathway from laboratory to industrial production as quickly as possible. With the PtL Roadmap, policymakers and industry are jointly tackling the major challenge of making aviation carbon neutral. The Federal Environment Ministry is working with the PtX Lab Lausitz and the International PtX Hub Berlin to develop the technologies. We are currently transposing into national law the European Directive on the use of renewable energies in transport. This will ensure a future proof basis for promoting industrial production of electricity-based kerosene. The progressively rising binding minimum quota for electricity-based kerosene planned by the Federal Government will advance industrial-scale production massively from 2026. The government’s legal provisions create the investment certainty so urgently needed for the further development of climate friendly technologies and plant construction. The PtL Roadmap is a crucial milestone on the road to carbon neutral aviation.
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer:
By switching to electricity-based kerosene we can save millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions in the aviation sector. At present, however, electricity-based fuels are not being produced in marketable quantities. That is why the German federal government, federal states and industry associations have developed a joint roadmap for launching the market ramp-up of these technologies in Germany. Moreover, the Federal Transport Ministry has commissioned the German Aerospace Centre and partners from research and industry to design a production plant which will enable us to produce the fuel cost efficiently and put it to use more quickly. Our goal is to make flying carbon neutral.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier:
By promoting electricity-based kerosene using green hydrogen we are showing that flying does not conflict with climate action. By taking this important step for the market ramp-up of green hydrogen, we want to establish German companies as leaders of the field and move the development of a global hydrogen industry forward. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs is supporting the ramp-up with a range of funding programmes and by desinging regulatory framework conditions. In this way, we are boosting the development of hydrogen technologies and advancing global climate action.
Federal Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller:
We need a global energy and transport revolution. This includes CO2-emission-free synthetic fuels – also for aviation. We will not be able to meet the growing demand in Europe alone. As a step forward, we need an energy and climate partnership with Africa. Because Africa has the sun, hydropower for production and many young, motivated people. In Morocco, German development cooperation is building a reference plant for green hydrogen and synthetic fuels. This will strengthen Germany's technological leadership, create local jobs and make a very effective contribution to climate protection.
State Minister Tarek Al-Wazir, Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing of Hesse:
Although in future we can avoid short-haul flights by expanding the rail network, linking means of transport intelligently and shifting traffic to other modes, there will nevertheless be areas where we are dependent on air transport as the only viable option. We are united in the goal of systematically transforming this area of aviation. It must become carbon neutral and climate friendly. We must use the government’s support strategies to swiftly move on to construction of production plants in Germany’s federal states, so that we can begin producing power-to-liquid kerosene and gain experience for the continuing market ramp-up. In Hesse we laid important groundwork by setting up the Competence Centre for Climate Environment and Noise Protection in Aviation. Moreover, the PtL Roadmap reiterates the importance of massively expanding power generation from renewable sources, both in Europe and beyond, for achieving the climate targets under the Paris Agreement.
Peter Gerber, President of the German aviation association BDL and CEO of Brussels Airlines:
Our goal is to make flying carbon neutral. Replacing fossil kerosene with sustainable aviation fuels is pivotal to this. The best solution, also for the environment, is fuels produced from atmospheric CO2 with the help of renewable energies. This has been proven to work. Now, guided by the PtL Roadmap, policymakers and industry will work together to make these sustainable fuels available in sufficient quantities and at competitive prices. We welcome the agreement that will ensure regulatory measures for the market ramp-up are both effective and competition-neutral. On this basis, we are ready to play our part in the setting up of industrial plants for the production of sustainable aviation fuels, for instance by making purchasing commitments.
Reiner Winkler, Vice President for Aviation at the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) and Chief Executive Officer at MTU Aero Engines AG:
The energy transformation in our skies is a task for the whole of society. Aviation has to be sustainable to ensure mobility and climate action for the long term and enable the “licence to operate” to be retained in the years to come. The measures outlined in the PtL Roadmap must be implemented quickly and consistently in order to achieve the climate targets. As a first step, we need the rapid establishment of pilot facilities for the production of synthetic fuels in Germany. In addition to integrated flight systems, lightweight structures and digitalisation, innovative drive technologies offer the most promising opportunity for decarbonising aviation. We are now seizing this opportunity: our highly innovative industry has both an excellent research landscape and the know-how to ensure that the climate-neutral aeroplane of the future comes from Germany and Europe. Investments in innovation and technological progress pay off: the future of aviation is based on sustainability and climate neutrality.
Wolfgang Langhoff, Chairman of the Management Board of the German Petroleum Industry Association (MWV) and Chairman of the Board of BP Europa SE:
We are convinced that the PtL Roadmap is a robust plan to achieve the goal of decarbonising aviation efficiently and as a collaboration between policymakers and industry. 200,000 tonnes of PtL kerosene per year is a realistic first step that nevertheless does not aim low: It enables decarbonisation of around one third of all domestic flights in Germany by 2030.
Dr Uwe Lauber, Chairman of the VDMA Working Group “Power-to-X for Applications” and Chief Executive Officer, MAN Energy Solutions SE:
Electricity-based fuels are crucial for climate-neutral aviation. The German mechanical and plant engineering sector wants to contribute with its engineering skills and technological leadership. The market ramp-up for power-to-X must be launched this decade to ensure these technologies can also make their mark on the international market.
Responsibility for the design and implementation of the PtL Roadmap: the Federal Government, represented by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Economic Development (BMZ); the Länder, represented by the Transport Minister of the State of Hesse Tarek al Wazir; and for industry, the German aviation association Bundesverband der Deutschen Luftverkehrswirtschaft (BDL), the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), the Association of the German Petroleum Industry (MWV), the VDMA Working Group “Power-to-X for Applications” and the mechanical and plant engineering association Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (VDMA).