the previous instalment of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) article series,
we had a look at the technologies which are currently available for the
production of SAF, and which currently supply the market. In addition, we also
provided an overview of two up-and-coming technologies which are likely to
revolutionise the aviation sector: e-fuels and hydrogen propulsion.
first commercial partly SAF-powered flight took place in 2008 and was
spear-headed by Boeing, Virgin Atlantic and GE Aviation. The
International Air Transport Association (IATA) now estimates that since 2016, more
than 370,000 flights were performed using a blend of SAF, across 45 airlines
in 2021, United Airlines performed the very first commercial flight powered by
100% SAF. The
SAF industry is evolving rapidly, driven by the continuous and increasing
regulatory support across the world, and by the sustainability commitments
announced by multiple leading private businesses and initiatives.
continued use of fossil resources without a plan to transition to low carbon sustainable
fuels is no longer a viable business model for airlines and suppliers. Although
some studies have predicted that at current use rates oil and gas extraction
sites will dry up in around 50 to 60 years, or at
least that fossil resources are finite, it is also argued that new technologies
could allow the oil and gas industry to continue supplying fossil fuels for a
lot longer. However, it will become increasingly untenable
to use such fuels in a zero carbon economy.
is already shifting and more people (mainly younger generations) and
businesses, recognize and value sustainable and renewable alternatives over
It is therefore advantageous for businesses to transition to this new demand,
and develop lower cost technologies so that demand can be economically met.
this third and last instalment of the SAF series, we look at the current
industrial landscape for SAF, taking a closer look at the key players within
the industry and providing a clearer picture of the current market. The sector
is currently dominated by a handful of producers and distributers, working
alone or in partnership to establish SAF supply chains. This article demonstrates
that these companies use a range of the technologies we have previously
reported on, showing that SAF production is a flexible, reliable and deemed to
be an economically viable investment under current and emerging drivers for
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