AviationSustainable aviation fuel production grows, but not fast enough to meet demand.

Across the globe, airlines are in haste for waste

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The demand for sustainable aviation fuel is rising around the world.
The demand for sustainable aviation fuel is rising around the world.

It may be produced from kitchen scraps and other waste, but aviation’s ‘green’ fuel does not come cheap.  Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is between two and four times the price of conventional jet fuel, yet airlines are buying every drop and budgeting billions of dollars for forward-purchasing agreements.

Unimpressed by the high cost, IATA has called on governments to invest in SAF production to drive the price down and help aviation pursue its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Annual production of SAF is around 125 million litres with a forecast that this number will increase to five billion litres by 2025, still massively short of the requirement of airlines who are keen to reduce their carbon emissions.

In comparison to fossil fuels, SAF can reduce CO2 emissions by 80%.

Airlines across the world have been trialling SAF for more than a decade. More recently, the Civil Aviation of Singapore (CAAS), Singapore Airlines and ExxonMobil launched a pilot scheme to invest in blended fuel produced from cooking oil and waste animal fats. SIA and low-cost associate Scoot began using the blended fuel from the third quarter of 2022.

Other airlines are stepping up their research and their use of SAF, including British Airways which has agreed to purchase enough sustainable fuel to reduce CO2 lifecycle emissions by almost 100,000 tonnes, the equivalent of powering 700 net-zero transatlantic flights from London to New York with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Finnair is also onboard with SAF, purchasing the fuel annually for the next five years from Colorado-based renewable fuels producer Gevo Inc. The agreement is part of the Oneworld alliance’s plan to purchase sustainable aviation fuel annually for its member airlines.

In Australia, Qantas is working with Airbus to invest in a local SAF production industry to reduce the need for supplies from the UK and US. Qantas aims to reach its goal of using 10% of SAF on its planes by 2030.

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