SAF production to triple in 2024: IATA


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production to triple to 1.5m tonnes in 2024 – accounting for 0.24% of the total aviation fuel forecasted to be consumed during the year.

“SAF will provide about 65% of the mitigation needed for airlines to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. So the expected tripling of SAF production in 2024 from 2023 is encouraging. We still have a long way to go, but the direction of exponential increases is starting to come into focus,” said Willie Walsh, director general, IATA.

Walsh said that SAF production could potentially cross 51m tonnes by 2030.

IATA estimates around 140 renewable fuel projects with the capability to produce SAF have been announced to be in production by 2030. These projects are spread across almost all regions including Asia, EU, North America and Australia.

Governments around the world are working on nudging SAF production to reduce airline emissions through incentives as well as mandates.

Walsh said that interest in SAF is growing but the concrete plans that we have seen so far are far from sufficient.

He said the governments have set clear expectations for aviation to achieve a 5% CO2 emissions reduction through SAF by 2030 and to be net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They now need to implement policies to ensure that airlines can actually purchase SAF in the required quantities.

Meanwhile, IATA also highlighted potential policy actions to boost SAF production including diversification of feedstocks, adoption of coprocessing at existing refineries, incentivise SAF production at renewable fuels production sites currently refining renewable/bio diesel and incentives to boost investment in SAF production.

Walsh noted that incentives to build more renewable energy facilities, strengthen the feedstock supply chain, and to allocate a greater portion of renewable fuel output to aviation would help decarbonise aviation.

He urged governments to facilitate technical solutions with accelerated approvals for diverse feedstocks and production methodologies as well as co-processing renewable feedstocks in crude oil plants.