Everything you need to know about sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
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Are you looking to reduce your environmental impact while flying? Do you want to know more about sustainable aviation fuels? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will discuss everything you need about sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), including their benefits, the importance of available SAFs, and their challenges. So whether you’re a pilot or a passenger, this blog post is essential reading.
What Is Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)?
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a type of fuel produced sustainably, such as by using renewable energy sources and reducing the use of non-renewable resources. It is intended to replace traditional fuels used in aircraft engines, such as kerosene and jet fuel, which can harm the environment. Safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to these conventional fuels are available, but they can cost more and are not widely used worldwide. One way to reduce the costs of SAF is to increase the availability of existing SAF sources, such as biomass or biofuels, by using them in place of traditional fuels.
However, it is also important to explore new sources of SAF, such as innovative technologies or natural resources that are not yet known. Combining existing SAF sources with novel technologies or resources can help reduce SAF’s costs and environmental impacts while still providing a high level of safety and reliability for modern aircraft.
Importance of Sustainable aviation fuel
It is important for both the environmental and economic benefits it provides. Sustainable aviation fuel can help reduce the impact of flying on the environment by reducing the greenhouse gases released by aircraft engines. It can also drive economic growth by creating jobs and generating revenue in the aviation sector. However, sustainable aviation fuel needs to be produced responsibly and sustainably to ensure its long-term availability and sustainability.
Risks associated with using regular aviation fuel
Regular aviation fuel is a type of fuel used to power aircraft. It is typically made up of various types of petroleum, such as gasoline or kerosene, mixed with additives to improve its performance and efficiency. Regular aviation fuel contains components that can harm the environment and human health if released into the air or water. These components are often harmful to animals and may even be fatal to humans if they are ingested or absorbed through the skin. Regular aviation fuel can also be a source of air pollution, as it is burned in engines, releasing carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air. Overall, regular aviation fuel has many risks associated with its use. It must be handled carefully to prevent accidents and emissions, which can harm people and the environment.
Benefits of using SAF
Farming communities may benefit economically from growing, obtaining, and producing SAF from waste and renewable resources. The environment may also be improved, and aircraft performance may increase.
Additional Income for Farmers
American farmers can increase their income during the off-seasons by producing biomass crops for SAF production while gaining advantages for their farms, such as lowering nutrient losses and enhancing soil quality.
Biomass crops can reduce erosion and enhance the quantity and quality of water. They can also increase biodiversity and store carbon in the soil, delivering on-farm and environmental benefits across the country. Producing SAF from wet wastes, like manure and sewage sludge, reduces pollution pressure on watersheds while keeping potent methane gas—a key contributor to climate change—out of the atmosphere.
Improved Aircraft Performance
Several SAFs include fewer aromatic components, which lets them burn cleaner in aeroplane engines. This means lower local emissions of harmful compounds around airports during take-off and landing. Additionally, aromatic substances are precursors to contrails, which can amplify the effects of climate change.
How do we achieve financial sustainability?
The amount of sustainable feedstock available today—such as municipal waste, agricultural waste, and cooking oil waste—is such that if all sustainable feedstock were used exclusively for the production of SAF, 500 million tonnes of SAF could be produced annually, which would be enough to meet the projected demand for jet fuel in all of aviation by 2030.
12 Scaling up SAF production to meet net-zero governmental ambitions will depend on significant multi-stakeholder collaboration. Creating proper commercial and financial channels, increasing incentives, and implementing regulatory frameworks will all be major issues.
Before getting the funding for a SAF production facility off the ground, much preparation is required. Before approaching financiers, the following issues must be resolved:
- Being close to sources of such biomass will be a big plus for investors as SAF production facilities heavily rely on the factor inputs of biomass;
- Investors will want to confirm that the SAF manufacturing plant they are financing has a reliable revenue stream and that such revenues are anticipated to be realized as predicted;
- The ability of the end user (typically the airline) to obtain the maximum amount of carbon trading offset credits will frequently determine how much money can be made from SAF production facilities, so the process of producing such SAF will need to be approved under any pertinent sustainability criteria.
- Financers are likely to demand sponsor capital given the SAF industry’s infancy unless they are satisfied with the sponsor’s credit standing or the sponsor has indicated it is willing to provide a bank guarantee or letter of credit as security for the SAF project.
The predictability of the revenue stream is particularly important to financiers; in this regard, having strong, long-term offtake agreements signed with airlines or other market participants can be crucial to ensuring the commercial viability of a SAF project.
It will take extensive collaboration and interest alignment to produce SAF on a large scale and at competitive prices. The head of sustainability and ESG for JetBlue and a well-known figure in the industry, Sara Bogdan, told us that “to achieve global net zero goals there needs to be aggressive and immediate action from many parties, including airlines, aircraft technology manufacturers, government, and the finance community to overcome the cost and supply challenges that have long plagued the SAF market.”
More and more nations are making sweeping commitments to decarbonize the aviation industry. Similarly, those involved in the private aviation industry continue to establish high standards for themselves. However, the market/commercial dynamics and commercially viable technology that will make this a reality differ from where they should be. The only short- to the medium-term option that can be both commercially successful and contribute to the decarbonization of the aviation industry is to produce and deploy SAF.
The environment is set for a sharp increase in demand for SAF and, consequently, for SAF production facilities, with government and regulatory support certain to fuel activity. We are in constant conversation with industry leaders concerning SAF. The exponentially expanding need for SAF will lead to quick change and the continuing re-direction of resources (financial and otherwise) into this ever-important area.
How can SAF be made more sustainable?
SAF can be made more sustainable by implementing practices that reduce the amount of waste produced, conserve energy and water resources, and promote sustainable development. Some potential approaches that could help to make SAF more sustainable include:
Reducing the amount of waste produced: By reducing the amount of garbage paid, businesses can reduce the resources required to process and dispose of that waste. This includes reducing disposable products and materials, recycling and composting when possible, and using less packaging when products are shipped or sold.
Conserving energy and water resources: Safeguarding them can help businesses reduce their environmental impact. Energy-efficient equipment, lighting, and construction materials can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage.
Promoting sustainable development: Promoting sustainable development is a key component of SAF because it encourages businesses to adopt practices that protect the environment and promote human welfare. By promoting environmentally responsible business practices, companies can help protect the environment and the workers who use them.
By implementing these practices, businesses can help to make SAF more sustainable overall.
How is SAF produced?
SAF is produced through various processes, including hydroprocessing, gasification, and fermentation. The SAF feedstocks include non-food crops, waste materials, and algae.
How does SAF reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
SAF is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing traditional fossil fuels used in the aviation industry. SAF is produced from renewable resources and has a lower carbon intensity than conventional jet fuel.
Is SAF more expensive than traditional jet fuel?
Currently, SAF is more expensive than traditional jet fuel due to the limited production and availability of sustainable feedstocks. However, as production volumes increase and more airlines adopt SAF, the cost is expected to decrease.
Is SAF safe for use in aeroplanes?
Yes, SAF has been certified as safe for use in aeroplanes by aviation regulatory bodies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Can aeroplanes use SAF without modifications?
Yes, aeroplanes can use SAF without modifications. SAF has the same properties as traditional jet fuel and can be used in existing aircraft engines.
How much SAF is currently being used in the aviation industry?
Only a small percentage of the aviation industry's fuel is SAF. In 2020, airlines used approximately 50 million gallons of SAF, which represents less than 1% of the total power used by the aviation industry.
What is the future of SAF?
The future of SAF looks promising, with many airlines committing to using SAF and governments investing in developing sustainable feedstocks and infrastructure. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has set a target for the aviation industry to use 10% SAF by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.