The rationale for sustainable aviation fuel

Flying is essential for economies and businesses globally and at the same time enables us to visit family and enjoy holidays at the other side of the world. But partly because of its growing importance, the aviation industry is expected to double in carbon emissions by 2050. Currently, aviation accounts for approximately 2% of all manmade global carbon dioxide emissions. That figure could rise to as much as 5% by 2050 due to the sector’s anticipated rapid growth and forecasted carbon reduction from other industries. In order to maintain this growth and at the same time address environmental impact, the aviation industry has committed to carbon-neutral growth per 2020 and reducing net aviation carbon emissions to 50% below 2005 levels by 2050.

More than 99% of airline emissions and approximately 50% of airport emissions result from the combustion of kerosene. The graph of the Air Transport Association Group (ATAG) illustrates the options available to the industry to meet sustainability targets. Increased energy efficiency and energy demand reduction are effective ways and first priority to reduce fuel consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions. But efficiency improvements do not offer a sole solution to aviation-related emissions and dependency on oil. Because airplanes are not able to switch to alternative energy sources like hydrogen or electricity in the foreseeable future, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from renewable biomass is the only way to significantly reduce the industry’s carbon footprint and at the same time also reduce the dependency on fossil kerosene. That’s why SkyNRG is committed to build this new industry for SAF and create a sustainable future for aviation. To learn more about SkyNRG’s SAF, you can visit our FAQ-page.

Graph ATAG: Breakdown of CO2 reduction options for aviation through 2050


Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plays a central role in creating a sustainable future for aviation and can offer many benefits to airlines, companies, airports, governments and travellers worldwide:

    • Reducing CO2 emissions: SAF is the largest potential source of CO2 emission reductions. These reductions are achieved over the life cycle of SAF, compared to that of fossil jet fuel. The ATAG graph illustrates the difference between these lifecycles. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method to map the activities and the corresponding CO2 emissions in the entire life cycle of a specific product. In the case of fossil jet fuel and SAF, the key difference is the source of the carbon: fossil fuels release additional carbon that was previously stored in reservoirs. SAF recycles CO2 emissions that were emitted previously and subsequently absorbed from the atmosphere during feedstock production. On average, SkyNRG’s SAF can reduce CO2 emissions by 80%, compared to fossil jet fuel.
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    Graph ATAG: Life cycle for fossil jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

    • Improved local Air Quality: In addition to CO2 reduction, SAF can reduce emissions from particulate matter (PM) with up to 90% and sulphur emissions (SOX) with 100%, compared to fossil jet fuel.
    • Employment & regional development: A medium to long-term benefit of building a market for SAF is that it can stimulate economic activity in the region. A regional supply chain for SAF aggregates demand and creates a reliable market pull that can attract investment to fund new business activities that result in job creation, industry development, land-use and research & development.
    • Improved fuel efficiency: Studies indicate that SAF has a higher energy density than fossil jet fuel.
    • Increased energy security: Many countries depend on imported jet fuel. Locally produced SAF can increase a region’s energy security.
    • Reduced price volatility: In general, fossil crude refineries can produce a variety of products, including fossil jet fuel (kerosene), gasoline, and diesel. These end products have interdependent economics: changing trends in demand of road transport fuels, for example, could have implications for the supply and price of jet fuel. Adding regionally produced SAF to the fuel mix increases the stability of jet fuel supply and price in the region.
    • Drop-in fuel: The sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplied by SkyNRG is a so-called “drop-in” fuel. Once the neat SAF (100% unblended SAF) has been blended with fossil jet fuel, the resulting fuel blend is indistinguishable from fossil jet fuel. It meets the same specification as conventional jet fuel (ASTM D1655 and DEFSTAN 91-91) and therefore we refer to it as a “drop-in fuel”: it means no change is required in the aircraft systems, engines and in the fuel distribution system.