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The Outlook for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

The annual Strategic Outlook for Energy is FGE’s core analytical report for its perspectives on future developments in oil demand, supply and prices to 2050.

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In this new multi-client study, FGE tackles some of the most common questions about the future of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). It explores the growth potential for SAF in a world where jet fuel demand is recovering to pre-COVID-19 levels, and the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) is targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In recent years, as global commercial aviation activity recovers to pre-COVID-19 levels, there has been a renewed push for the decarbonization of the air transport industry.

Global commercial aviation activity has now exceeded 2019 levels, but jet fuel demand is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2025. Global commercial air traffic is projected to grow strongly thereafter, but it is uncertain whether this will translate into increased oil demand.

In 2021, the airline members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved a resolution to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In air transport, SAF is the only viable decarbonization pathway for at least another 20 years. As such, we expect SAF demand to rise significantly during this period, driven by government mandates and industry commitments. Other technologies, such as hydrogen- fueled aircraft, will not play a big role until the 2050s.

However, the availability of feedstock to produce SAF is limited and is a big challenge for future uptake. Currently, “used cooking oil” (UCO) is the main feedstock for SAF production via hydro-treatment, which, according to FGE’s proprietary database, accounts for about two-thirds of the SAF projects during this decade.

Globally, 7 kb/d of SAF was used in 2022, accounting for just 0.1% of global jet fuel consumption. We project the global aviation sector’s combined planned use of SAF will increase to close to 700 kb/d by 2035, almost 8% of the total jet fuel pool by then. By 2050, world SAF use will reach 1.7 mmb/d, accounting for 17% of the global jet fuel pool. As a result, we expect global crude oil-based jet fuel demand to stagnate from the 2030s onwards.

Key Areas Addressed in this Study

  • SAF price outlook by technology and region to 2030
  • FGE's forecast of detailed SAF production capacity by region to 2030
  • Diverging policies and their impact on SAF supply and demand by region
  • Plant and project economics

Scope of Coverage

  • Deliverables
    • PDF copy of the report (PowerPoint layout).
    • An interactive session with FGE consultants, either in FGE’s London office or via WebEx/video conferencing facilities.
    • Full details can be found in the brochure
    • Extensive supplementary Excel data sets.
    • A PowerPoint Executive Presentation Pack, with key charts and conclusions.
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