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Replacing petroleum-based aviation fuel with sustainable aviation fuel derived from a type of mustard plant can reduce carbon emissions by up to 68%, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

The researchers determined the break-even price and lifecycle carbon emissions of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from oil obtained from Brassica carinata, a non-edible oilseed crop.

The aviation industry emits 2.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions nationwide and is responsible for 3.5% of global warming. Carinata-based SAF could help reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation sector while creating economic opportunities and improving the flow of ecosystem services across the southern U.S.

The price for producing SAF from carinata ranged from $0.12 per liter on the low end to $1.28 per liter, based on existing economic and market incentives. The price for petroleum-based aviation fuel was $0.50 per liter — higher than carinata-based SAF when current economic incentives were included in the analysis.

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