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]


Aircraft Leasing Ireland/KPMG – SAF manufacturing in Ireland
A short report that calculates that Ireland could take advantage of its wind 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. It 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.  

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  $1.3 trillion in SAF production would produce only about 20% of forecast 2050 aviation fuel demand.

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 trillion to $4 trillion 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. Has a strong socio-economic section. The report estimates that domestic SAF production could create more than 100,000 direct jobs.


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.