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The Outlook for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)


In this new multi-client study, FGE tackles some of the most common questions about the future of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

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Overview

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 still recovering to pre-COVID-19 levels, while countries, institutions and airlines are announcing emission reduction targets.

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 2021, the airline members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved a resolution to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Similarly, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has a long-term global aspirational goal of 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 or battery-electric 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 80% of the SAF projects during this decade.

Globally, 18 kb/d of SAF was used in 2023, accounting for just 0.3% of global jet fuel consumption. We project the global aviation sector’s combined planned use of SAF will increase to over 700 kb/d by 2035, 8% of the total jet fuel pool by then. By 2050, world SAF use will reach nearly 2 mmb/d, accounting for 19% 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

  • Diverging policies and their impact on SAF supply and demand by region
  • SAF Standards and Sustainability
  • Production Cost Analysis by Region and Pathway
  • FGE’s forecast of detailed SAF production and production capacity by region to 2035
  • FGE’s forecast of SAF demand by region, including commercial offtake agreements by supplying company and airline

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 Zoom/video conferencing facilities.
    • Full details can be found in the brochure
    • Extensive supplementary Excel data sets.
    • A PowerPoint Executive Presentation Pack, containing key charts and conclusions.
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