SAF production to reach 1.9 billion liters in 2024

SAF is expected to provide about 65% of the carbon mitigation required for airlines to achieve net zero by 2050

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production is on track to triple in 2024, reaching 1.9 billion liters (1.5 million tonnes), according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

This will cover 0.53% of aviation’s fuel needs for the year and marks a step towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, IATA said on Sunday, June 2.

IATA’s director general, Willie Walsh, highlighted the significance of this growth but noted that while progress is encouraging, much work remains.

The organization said that renewable fuel production, including SAF, is expanding, with over 140 projects slated for operation by 2030.

If fully realized, these projects could yield 51 million tonnes per year of renewable fuel by 2030. This will depend on sustained investor interest and successful project execution, according to IATA.

Meanwhile, governments through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are targeting a 5% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from SAF by 2030.

Achieving this will require about 27% of the renewable fuel capacity by that time to be SAF, up from 3% now.

How is SAF supply meeting demand and what incentives are in place to boost production and adoption? Access our data analysis on US SAF production patterns and credit pricing trends.

Policies required for enhancing SAF production

But according to IATA, to enhance SAF production, several policies are necessary.

These include diversifying feedstocks beyond the current reliance on hydrogenated fatty acids (HEFA) to include agricultural and forestry residues, and municipal waste.

Additionally, co-processing existing refineries to handle renewable feedstocks alongside crude oil can help. Shifting the production focus at renewable fuel facilities from diesel to SAF while road transport becomes more electrified is also crucial.

Moreover, investment incentives are needed to encourage large-scale SAF production through stable, long-term policies such as the US Grand Challenge.

Walsh emphasized that comprehensive policy support is essential for ramping up SAF production to meet future demand.

An IATA survey shows strong public support for SAF, with 86% of travelers favoring government incentives for SAF use and urging oil companies to prioritize SAF production.

Meanwhile, industry expenses are projected to rise to $936 billion in 2024, a 9.4% increase from 2023, IATA said.

Fuel costs are expected to average $113.80 per barrel, totaling $291 billion and comprising 31% of operating costs. SAF production costs will reach $3.75 billion, significantly higher than conventional jet fuel.

SAF adoption goals

The EU has set mandates for the use of SAF at its airports, starting with a requirement for SAF to comprise 2% of aviation fuels by 2025. The mandate will increase to 6% by 2030, 20% by 2035, 34% by 2040, 42% by 204, and reach 70% by 2050.

Meanwhile, in the US, a goal was announced in September 2021 to ramp up SAF production to at least 3 billion gallons per year by 2030.

The Asia-Pacific region is also making strides in SAF adoption, with Japan aiming for a 10% SAF mandate by 2030.

India is considering an SAF mandate starting at 1% by 2027, with plans to increase this to 5% by 2030 for international flights.

According to a news article, China is expected to implement a 5% SAF mandate by 2030, which would translate to roughly 2.5 million tonnes of SAF usage.

View our biofuels and feedstocks news, prices and analysis

What to read next
Updated forecast by trade association Cocereal pegs 2024 wheat crop slightly higher than previous projections
Fastmarkets wishes to clarify the specifications for its European animal fats price assessments.
A report by the USDA forecasts an increase in US ending stocks for 2024/25 to 769 million bushels, alongside a slight decrease in global stockpile estimates.
Rates fell on major routes like Brazil-Northeast Asia and US Gulf-Northeast Asia, driven by excess tonnage in the Atlantic basin and the impact of decreasing oil prices
The Ukrainian Grain Association estimated the 2024/25 crop of oilseeds and grains in Ukraine at 74.6 million tonnes, down by 2% from the initial forecast of 76.1 million tonnes in March.
Learn more about how SAF can generate more demand for agricultural products and economic benefits for farmers in the short-term