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IATA expects sustainable aviation fuel production to rise to 1.9 billion litres in 2024

GENEVA: The production of sustainable aviation fuel will double to more than 600 million litres this year and rise further to 1.875 billion litres in 2024, according to the global airlines’ grouping IATA. As the global aviation industry works on decarbonisation ways, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) will play a major role.
At a recent conference hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), stakeholders agreed to a global framework to promote SAF production in all geographies for fuels used in international aviation to be 5 per cent less carbon-intensive by 2030.Around 17.5 billion litres of SAF need to be produced to reach that level.
On Wednesday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that in 2023, SAF volumes will reach over 600 million litres (0.5 million tonnes), which is double the amount of 300 million litres (0.25 million tonnes) produced in 2022.
While making a presentation on SAF here, IATA’s Director for Net Zero Transaction Hemant Mistry said that globally, 43 airlines have voluntary commitments and agreements related to SAF, which corresponds to around 13 million tonnes of fuel use by 2030.
Global SAF accounting framework and regional feedstock value chains, among other factors, will help in ramping up production of SAF, he noted.
Around 85 per cent of SAF facilities coming online over the next five years will use Hydrotreatment (HEFA) production technology, which relies on inedible animal fats (tallow), used cooking oil and industrial grease as feedstock.
“In 2024, SAF production is expected to triple to 1.875 billion litres (1.5 million tonnes), accounting for 0.53 per cent of aviation’s fuel need, and 6 per cent of renewable fuel capacity.
“The small percentage of SAF output as a proportion of overall renewable fuel is primarily due to the new capacity coming online in 2023 being allocated to other renewable fuels,” IATA said.
IATA Director General Willie Walsh said that even though SAF production was encouraging, the fuel as a portion of all renewable fuel production will only grow from 3 per cent this year to 6 per cent in 2024.
“This allocation limits SAF supply and keeps prices high. Aviation needs between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of renewable fuel production capacity for SAF. At those levels, aviation will be on the trajectory needed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” he added.
Walsh also said governments must prioritise policies to incentivise the scaling up of SAF production and diversify feedstocks with those available locally.
IATA is a grouping of more than 300 airlines, including Air India and IndiGo.

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