Sustainable Aviation Fuels to provide about 62% of carbon mitigation needed in 2050: IATA

ISTANBUL, 6th June, 2023 (WAM) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced its expectation for overall renewable fuel production to reach an estimated capacity of at least 69 billion liters (55 million tonnes) by 2028. Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) will comprise a portion of this growing output which is being achieved through new renewable fuel refineries and the expansion of existing facilities. Importantly, the expected production has a wide geographic footprint covering North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

“The expected production increase is extremely encouraging. Seeing this, we need governments to act to ensure that SAF gets its fair production share. That means, in the first instance, production incentives, to support aviation’s energy transition. And we need continued approval for more diversification of methods and feedstocks available for SAF production. With these two measures successfully in place, we can be confident that the expected 2028 production levels will be realistically aligned with our recently published roadmaps to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. That is important as we are counting on SAF to provide about 62% of the carbon mitigation needed in 2050,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Trends supporting this optimistic outlook are already visible. In 2022, SAF production tripled to some 300 million liters (240,000 tonnes) and project announcements for potential SAF producers are rapidly growing. IATA counts over 130 relevant renewable fuel projects announced by more than 85 producers across 30 countries. Each of these projects has either announced the intent or commitment to produce SAF within their wider product slate of renewable fuels. Typically, there is a 3 –5-year lag between a project announcement and its commercialization date. This implies that further renewable fuel capacity out until 2030 could still be announced over the following years.
If renewable energy production reaches 69 billion liters by 2028 as estimated, the trajectory to 100 billion liters (80 million tonnes) by 2030 would be on track. If just 30% of that produced SAF, the industry could achieve 30 billion liters (24 million tonnes) of SAF production by 2030.
“Achieving the necessary SAF percentage output from these new and expanding facilities is not a given. But with governments the world-over agreeing at ICAO to a long-term aspirational goal (LTAG) of net zero by 2050, they now share accountability for aviation’s decarbonization. That means establishing a policy framework to ensure that aviation gets the needed share of renewable energy production in SAF,” said Walsh.
A recent IATA survey revealed significant public support for SAF. Some 85% of travelers agreed that governments should provide incentives for airlines to use SAF .