Boom Supersonic: SAF could meet global jet fuel demand by 2036
A new report by new aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic says that Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production could replace fossil jet fuel by 2036.
The report’s authors – Dr Akshay Ashok, sustainability and regulatory specialist at Boom Supersonic, and Ben Murphy, Boom’s head of sustainability – say that SAF production can follow a similar trajectory to other renewable energy technologies.
“The SAF industry is well poised to achieve exponential growth seen in other renewable energy sectors,” says the report. “If SAF scales at the rate of solar energy, it could reach projected international jet fuel demand by 2036.”
It looks at solar, wind, battery, and renewable ground transportation industries and identifies how they have grown exponentially. It highlights early buy-in and adoption, sustained research and development funding, government incentives and consistent long-term policy as key. Some $23bn was invested in solar energy, for example, through public and private investment between 2000 and 2007 – not including government funding.
“Encouragingly, the SAF industry displays hallmarks of the early stage, exponential growth patterns seen in other renewable energy industries. Industry and government have already taken impactful initial steps to foster this growth,” says the report. They highlight the US government’s SAF Grand Challenge and Europe’s proposed ReFuelEU programme.
The authors are also confident that there is no shortage of feedstock. “Contrary to claims that feedstock limitations constrain the viability of SAF, the DOE [US Department of Energy] has shown that the vast “menu” of feedstock sources currently available is more than enough to meet the projected fuel demand of the U.S. aviation industry,” says the report. “An estimated one billion tons of feedstock material can be collected sustainably each year in the US States—sufficient to produce 50 billion-60 billion gallons of low-carbon biofuels using existing SAF technologies.”
“This supply of feedstock is also more than enough to meet the FAA-forecasted 2050 U.S. demand of 40 billion gallons of jet fuel per year in 2050. Other analysis further suggests that feedstocks are sufficient to meet global demand — SAF could power all of aviation in 2030 relying only on existing feedstocks and technologies.”
The report ends saying: “SAF is widely and unequivocally supported by industry and policymakers as the most important means by which to decarbonize the aviation sector. Taking the learnings discussed in this paper into account, SAF is poised to be able to deliver these carbon reductions, enabling the aviation industry to play its vital role in the global economy while protecting the climate.”
The full 36-page report is here