SkyNRG forecasts major SAF capacity growth by 2030

Dutch fuel supplier SkyNRG has released its latest sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) market outlook, forecasting substantial growth in SAF capacity and demand through 2050

The report forecasts an increase in SAF production capacity to 17.3 million tonnes (5.7 billion gallons) by 2030, up significantly by 4 million tonnes (1.3 billion gallons) from 2023.

It also examines global trends and policy developments across key regions including the EU, the UK, the US and other parts of the world.

Aviation’s carbon footprint and SAF’s role

Aviation is responsible for 2-3% of global CO2 emissions, with passenger numbers expected to rebound to pre-Covid levels by 2028.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger numbers will reach 4.6 billion by 2025 and surge to 10 billion by 2050. If left unaddressed, carbon emissions from aviation will rise proportionally.

SAF is viewed as a critical solution to curb this growth, potentially contributing 65% of the emission reductions needed to achieve net-zero by 2050.

Key policy milestones

The ReFuelEU policy mandates a 2% SAF blend in EU jet fuel from 2025. This translates to nearly 1 million tonnes (0.3 billion gallons) of SAF demand, doubling the 2023 global market.

Additionally, the EU’s electro-sustainable aviation fuel (e-SAF) sub-mandate will require 0.6 million tonnes (0.2 billion gallons) by 2030, with announced projects expected to deliver half of this amount, the report said.

Meanwhile, the UK has finalized a national SAF mandate targeting 10% SAF by 2030, with a revenue certainty mechanism to boost domestic production.

But current capacity announcements in the UK total only 0.2 million tonnes (66 million gallons), with 0.6 million tonnes (0.2 billion gallons) in the pipeline.

The hydrotreated esters and fatty acids (HEFA) cap under the UK mandate allows for approximately 0.9 million tonnes (0.3 billion gallons) of HEFA-based SAF by 2030.

In the US, guidance on a federal blender’s tax credit was issued in April 2023, though short-duration incentives are expected to benefit projects already underway.

According to the report, SAF capacity announcements in the US are expected to deliver 6.7 million tonnes (2.2 billion gallons) by 2030, increasing to 7.0 million tonnes (2.3 billion gallons) if Canada is included. Canadian producers currently lack access to US federal tax incentives, placing them at a disadvantage.

Japan, Singapore, India, Brazil, British Columbia, Indonesia and Malaysia have proposed legislation to drive SAF adoption, with Japan’s 10% mandate by 2030 requiring 1.4 million tonnes (0.5 billion gallons) of SAF.

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.

Global SAF capacity and technological pathways

Current global capacity announcements are heavily dominated by the HEFA pathway, accounting for approximately 85% of 2030 capacity.

The report shows that alcohol-to-jet (AtJ) technology is gaining traction, now making up 8% of announced capacity, supported by the commissioning of the first commercial-scale facility.

Other technologies, such as Fischer-Tropsch and e-SAF, constitute about 7% of the 2030 capacity.

In Europe, announced renewable fuel capacity aims to deliver 3.8 million tonnes (1.3 billion gallons) of SAF by 2030, with a total of 5.5 million tonnes (1.8 billion gallons) in the pipeline, though delays suggest actual capacity may be lower, SkyNRG said.

Japan, Brazil, Singapore and other regions are emerging as significant demand centers. Notably, Japan’s 10% mandate by 2030 requires 1.4 million tonnes (0.5 billion gallons) of SAF. South America, particularly Brazil, is poised to become a major production hub, leveraging its strong agricultural base.

Based on current announcements, SAF capacity by 2030 is expected to be:

  • 1.4 million tonnes (0.4 billion gallons) in China
  • 1.9 million tonnes (0.6 billion gallons) in Southeast Asia
  • 0.1 million tonnes (33 million gallons) in Japan
  • 2.3 million tonnes (0.8 billion gallons) in Latin America
  • 0.1 million tonnes (33 million gallons) in Africa
  • 0.2 million tonnes (66 million gallons) in the Middle East

The development of SAF mandates and incentives will likely have a major effect on the trade of underlying feedstocks such as vegetable oils, used cooking oils (UCO), animal fats and tallows and even staples such as corn and sugarcane.

View our biofuels and feedstocks news, prices and analysis

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