SAF Reading List

The Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) industry is evolving quickly.  Here are some key research papers and white papers that we have found particularly useful. We update this regularly. Please send us links to research that should be on this list: [email protected]


University of California Riverside: Economics and global warming potential of a commercial-scale delignifying biorefinery based on co-solvent enhanced lignocellulosic fractionation to produce alcohols, sustainable aviation fuels, and co-products from biomass

When it comes to making fuel from plants, the first step has always been the hardest — breaking down the plant matter. A new study finds that introducing a simple, renewable chemical to the pre-treatment step can finally make next-generation biofuel production both cost-effective and carbon neutral. 


Boeing Cascade: Climate Impact Model

The Boeing Cascade Climate Impact Model is a dynamic modelling tool that allows users to analyse strategies and scenarios to reduce aviation’s emissions. Users are allowed to adjust traffic growth, fleet renewal, future aircrafts, operational efficiency and renewable energy inputs to forecast impact from developments in each of these areas.

Waypoint 2050: An Air Transport Action Group Project

This report brings together experts from the aviation sector to discuss how the industry can accelerate towards achieving their decarbonisation goals. It estimates that in order to meet the aviation sector’s 2050 targets, an investment between $1-1.5trn to set up 5,000-7,000 new facilities that can produce 330-445m tonnes of SAF would be required. 

Fuelling the Future of Aviation: Making Sustainable Aviation Fuel a Reality

This report focuses on the role of SAF in decarbonising aviation, SAF’s premium relative to kerosene, funding sources & options, need for action to meeting funding gaps and possible action plans for stakeholders in the SAF value chain. 

Horizon 2050: A Flight Plan for the Future of Sustainable Aviation

This joint study by Accenture and Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) compares technology solutions based on emission reduction potential, maturity status and applicability within time horizons (sort technologies by their applicability to specific market segments) relevant to aircraft entry into service.

Aircraft Leasing Ireland/KPMG – SAF manufacturing in Ireland
A short report that calculates that Ireland could take advantage of its wind resource and create e-fuels from power-to-liquid.  The country used 1Mt of jet fuel in 2019. The report says that Ireland could, in theory, produce 23Mt of power-to-liquid e-fuel.

The Royal Society: Net zero aviation fuels: resource requirements and environmental impacts 
This UK-focused report by the independent Royal Society estimates that meeting existing UK aviation demand entirely with energy crops would require around half of UK agricultural land.

“Research and innovation are vital tools for the delivery of net zero,” said Professor Graham Hutchings FRS, Regius Professor of Chemistry, Cardiff University, and chair of the report working group. “But we need to be very clear about the strengths, limitations, and challenges that must be addressed and overcome if we are to scale up the required new technologies in a few short decades.

UP Partners: The Moving World Report 2023

The specialist mobility venture fund and laboratory’s 124 page report looks at SAF, hydrogen and electric aviation as well as land based mobility and space.

Simpliflying: What will the future of green flying look like?

This qualitative report looks at how passengers could fly from New Zealand to California in 2028.

Boom Supersonic: Scaling Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production – Lessons learnt from the exponential growth in renewable energy industries

This report by new aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic says that SAF production could replace fossil jet fuel by 2036. 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.”

KPMG Ireland: Sustainable Aviation Fuel – Aviation Leaders Report 2023

Chris Brown says that power to liquid (PtL) synthetic fuel, obtained from low carbon hydrogen and CO2, is the most scalable SAF product for long-term use. But it needs a lot of investment.


Aviation Impact Accelerator: The Resource to Climate Comparison Evaluator (RECCE)
The clever calculator aims to compare different options (including hydrogen and electric aircraft) by calculation where system emissions occur. The model shows where scientists think things will look like in 2035.  

U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, USDA and EPA: SAF Grand Challenge Roadmap

A detailed roadmap of how US government agencies can support stakeholders in accelerating the growth of domestic SAF industry. They are estimating that to reach targets of 3bn gallons SAF supply by 2030 will require a CAPEX of $30bn in production and supply. 

Bain: Will plans to decarbonise the aviation industry fly?
Jim Harris, Jérémie Danicourt, Adam Papania, and Austin Kim say that decarbonising by 2050 is a moonshot challenge. They say that investing  $1.3trn in SAF production would produce only about 20% of forecast 2050 aviation fuel demand.

Mission Possible Partnership: Making Net-Zero Aviation Possible 

 A report compiled by the World Economic Forum, Energy Transitions Commission and McKinsey & Company. They say that annual investments of $175bn, 95% of which being in renewable fuel production and supporting the energy system, is required to meet the 1.5 degree path to net zero.  

McKinsey and the World Economic Forum: Clean skies for tomorrow: Delivering on the global power-to-liquid ambition
Written by McKinsey’s Bernd Heid, Nathan Lash, Robin Riedel and Daniel Riefer, the report says that the a total of between $3-4trn needs to be invested into Power-to-Liquid SAF between 2022 and 2050.

WWF South Africa: Fuel for the future – a blueprint for the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in South Africa
A great guide to how South Africa could use a variety of feedstocks including sugarcane, invasive alien plants, waste fats and industrial gasses to produce SAF. The report has a detailed socio-economic section. It also estimates that South Africa’s SAF production could create more than 100,000 direct jobs.


The World Economic Forum: Clean Skies for Tomorrow: Guidelines for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Blending Mandate in Europe

An in-depth report into key considerations for the feasibility of blending mandates. A fantastic breakdown of investment required for HEFA, Alcohol-to-Jet and Power-to-Liquid facilities and how to stimulate the necessary private investment. 


McKinsey and the World Economic Forum: Clean Skies for Tomorrow: Sustainable aviation fuels as a pathway to net-zero aviation

Regularly cited this 2020 report predicted that there would be enough feedstock to meet 2030 demand and that production costs will fall.


IATA: IATA Sustainable Aviation Fuel Roadmap
Demonstrates how long IATA has been working on SAF.