SAF production projections triple: IATA

According to a recent IATA survey, there is “significant” public support for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), with 86% of travellers agreeing that governments should provide incentives for airlines to use SAF.

In addition, the vast majority of air passengers agree (86%) that leading oil corporations should prioritize the production of SAF.

And in its most recent projections, IATA indicates that the production of SAFs will triple in 2024 to 1.9 billion litres (1.5 million tonnes) – and that would account for 0.53% of aviation’s fuel need in 2024. To accelerate SAF use, there are several policy measures that governments could take.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, pointed out that: “SAF will provide about 65% of the mitigation needed for airlines to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. So, the expected tripling of SAF production in 2024 from 2023 is encouraging. We still have a long way to go, but the direction of exponential increases is starting to come into focus.”

Walsh notes that: “The interest in SAF is growing and there is plenty of potential. But the concrete plans that we have seen so far are far from sufficient. Governments have set clear expectations for aviation to achieve a 5% CO2 emissions reduction through SAF by 2030 and to be net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They now need to implement policies to ensure that airlines can actually purchase SAF in the required quantities.”

Potential policy measures to boost SAF production include diversity feedstocks; co-processing; incentives to improve the output mix at renewable fuel facilities; and incentives to boost investments in renewable fuel production.

Said Walsh: “Incentives to build more renewable energy facilities, strengthen the feedstock supply chain, and to allocate a greater portion of renewable fuel output to aviation would help decarbonizing aviation.”

And he added: “Governments can also facilitate technical solutions with accelerated approvals for diverse feedstocks and production methodologies as well as co-processing renewable feedstocks in crude oil plants. No one policy or strategy will get us to the needed levels. But by using a combination of all potential policy measures, producing sufficient quantities of SAF is absolutely possible.”