Sustainable aviation fuel is manufactured from sustainable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to the traditional fossil jet fuel. The feedstocks used in the manufacturing process are cooking oil, non-palm waste oils from animals and plants, solid waste from homes and businesses including packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps that would otherwise go to the landfill.
With the aviation industry expected to double their passenger intake to over 8 billion passengers by 2050, it is essential that the industry acts now to reduce its carbon emissions.
Dependant on the particular feedstocks used to produce the type of sustainable aviation fuel, it has shown that nearly 80% of the carbon emissions can be reduced effectively. There are a few organisations who are leading the way in providing solutions for the aviation industry. They have varied methods and most are blended with traditional aviation fuel for safety and certification purposes. The sustainable and renewable fuels are already in circulation and in use with limited quantities. It’s a massive leap in the right direction.
The price of sustainable aviation fuel is significantly more than the traditional version. This is due to the limited availability of sustainable feedstocks. As the technology develops further the entire process is forecasted to become more efficient, so the expectation of the industry is that it that the cost will eventually level out and airlines would be able to pass on the savings to us as their customers.
According to IATA, sustainable aviation fuel will be a viable option for aircraft operators to meet their obligations under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). In 2016, the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed on a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to reduce CO2 emissions from the aviation industry with a pilot phase from 2021–2023, followed by a first phase from 2024–2026.
The three major manufacturers of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) are Neste from Finland, Gevo from the United States and Velocys from the United Kingdom. There are smaller private enterprises such as World Energies and Lanzatech who are also paving the way for the production of SAF.