Contribution of jet fuel from forest residues to multiple Sustainable Development Goals


With limited decarbonization options in the aviation sector, renewable jet fuels produced from biomass resources represent a promising opportunity. However, potential implications of their deployment on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remain largely unexplored. We introduce an approach for SDG analysis based on life-cycle impact assessment methods. We show that climate action benefits of renewable jet fuels produced from forest residues available in Norway are larger in the medium/longer term than the shorter term, but they increase pressure on other SDGs—mainly SDGs 2, 3, 6, 11, 12 and 14—especially for alcohol-to-jet fuel technology. Most of these adverse side-effects are alleviated with technological and supply-chain improvements. Environmental sustainability analysis can identify both synergies (mitigation options that co-deliver across SDGs) and trade-offs between climate change mitigation and the SDGs, thereby supporting their early management and mitigation.

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Fig. 1: Climate impacts of jet fuel pathways under multiple global and regional metrics.
Fig. 2: Projected contributions of RJF pathways to the Norwegian aviation sector, and associated climate change mitigation benefits.
Fig. 3: Environmental sustainability of RJF and FJF pathways in relation to nine environmentally orientated SDGs using three representative environmental impact indicators.
Fig. 4: Contribution of technology advances and improvements in the supply chain in the RJF pathways across the SDGs.

Data availability

The main data that support the findings of this study are available in the Supplementary Information. Other information is available from the corresponding author upon request.


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This work was supported by The Research Council of Norway through the Bio4Fuels FME Centre (257622). We thank A. McLean for valuable comments on presentation of the results.

Author information




O.C. and F.C. designed the study. O.C. modelled the aviation fuel pathways. F.C. selected the climate metrics and O.C. calculated the climate impacts. O.C. and F.C. performed the SDG analysis. O.C. performed Monte Carlo runs. O.C. generated all the figures and tables, with inputs from F.C. F.C. and O.C. analysed the results and wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Otavio Cavalett.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–4, Supplementary Tables 1–13, Supplementary References 1–35

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Cavalett, O., Cherubini, F. Contribution of jet fuel from forest residues to multiple Sustainable Development Goals. Nat Sustain 1, 799–807 (2018).

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