As part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package of July 2021, the Commission proposed a Regulation to boost the uptake of SAF in air transport in the context of the ‘ReFuelEU Aviation’ initiative. In order to meet the EU’s climate objectives, the proposed rules set out EU-level harmonised obligations on fuel suppliers and aircraft operators for scaling up SAF used for flights departing from all EU airports above a certain traffic threshold. According to the regulatory proposal, fuel suppliers would be required to blend 2% of SAF by 2025, 5% by 2030 and at least 63% by 2050 ( 38 and airlines would be required to use the SAF-blended fuel available at EU airports. This proposal for an EU SAF blending mandate focuses on advanced biofuels and synthetic e-Fuels. Due to their high decarbonisation potential and with a view to upscaling their production at a reasonably quick pace, synthetic e-Fuels (e.g. PtL) are subject to a sub-mandate .)
The ReFuelEU legislative proposal also foresees a thorough monitoring and reporting system of SAF supply and usage that will provide an overview of the European SAF market and form part of future editions of this report.
Some European States have introduced, and others are considering, policies to incentivise the future uptake of SAF. Since January 2020, Norway introduced a SAF blending mandate of 0.5% from 2022 with an ambition to increase over time. Sweden is following a similar path with a mandate gradually increasing to 27% by 2030. France defined its SAF roadmap in 2019 (SAF consumption objectives of 2% by 2025, 5% by 2030 and 50% in 2050) and started regulating fuel suppliers with a target for advanced biofuels and fuels produced from waste oils and fats (1% of jet fuel demand in 2022).
Germany is focussing on PtL fuels as part of its National Hydrogen Strategy with an objective to ramp up production to 200 thousand tonnes by 2030 (2% of German jet fuel sales in 2019). The Netherlands are considering a 14% share of SAF by 2030 and to completely replace fossil-based jet fuel by 2050. Outside of Europe, the United States introduced the SAF Grand Challenge to produce at least 3 billion gallons (approx. 8.6 million tonnes) per year by 2030 . In addition, countries such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brazil and New Zealand have announced various initiatives to advance the uptake of SAF .
Corporate targets have also been announced by European airlines. For instance, the International Airlines Group (IAG)39 and Ryanair have committed to use 10% and 12.5% SAF by 2030 respectively . At global level, Airlines for America (A4A), an association of major US airlines, pledged in March 2021 to facilitate making around 6 million tonnes of SAF commercially available in the US by 2030, which would represent approximately 10% of their forecast 2030 jet fuel consumption .
While providing a boost to the production and usage of SAF, it is unlikely that these actions alone will enable development of SAF at a competitive price and incentivise their usage across the EU in sufficient volumes so as to achieve significant emissions reductions from the aviation sector. Moreover, stakeholders have repeatedly called for a harmonised and long-term policy landscape as the most important measure to mitigate obstacles to SAF production and its uptake.
38Two different ATJ conversion plant layouts can be considered. The integrated plant layout (displayed here) assumes co-locating the ATJ process with ethanol production and emissions reductions as a result of heat integration. The standalone configuration assumes that ethanol is taken from the market or a separate ethanol production facility.
39 IAG members in 2021: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Iberia Express, LEVEL and Vueling
Sustainability Certification Schemes – Securing the sustainability of SAF
To ensure that SAF meet robust sustainability criteria, Sustainability Certification Schemes (SCS) control compliance of economic operators with the sustainability requirements along the SAF supply chain on a lifecycle basis (i.e., from feedstock provider all the way to blending). Each economic operator commissions an audit from an officially recognised third-party verification body, according to the requirements set by the certification system. If the sustainability criteria are met, the economic operator is granted a certificate confirming compliance with the certification systems’ requirements. This certificate puts the economic operator in the position to produce SAF from certified feedstock in accordance with the relevant sustainability requirements (e.g. RED II, CORSIA).
Sustainability certification ensures:
- Transparent compliance of feedstock with a defined set of robust sustainability requirements;
- Traceability of sustainable material through SAF supply chains; and
- Verified reductions in GHG emissions of the final SAF.