The aviation sector remains in need of decarbonisation. Unlike in road transportation, the low energy density of batteries means that electrification cannot be applied to commercial jets. Meanwhile, improvements in efficiency have not been able to keep up with an increase in demand.
Sustainable Aviation Fuels represent the option with the most potential to decarbonise aviation, and a solution which will remain relevant well into the 21st century. Other aircraft propulsion technologies are decades away from becoming viable and present efficiency challenges of their own. While SAF offtake is currently limited, usage is expected to grow sharply to achieve long-term voluntary sector targets as well as to comply with emerging inclusion policies. However, an enormous challenge for the SAF industry remains, as the jet fuel market is large, and demand is growing.
Importantly for the sugar sector, the standards of the Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) conversion process were revised in 2018 to include ethanol as an approved feedstock. This means that SAF can now be produced anywhere using ethanol from a suitable feedstock such as cane or beet. This represents a new diversification avenue and allows the sugar sector to continue to support the global decarbonisation effort.
The challenge for sugar industries will be in providing affordable and sustainable feedstocks that can be used for SAF conversion. Key in scaling up this energy transition will be an enabling policy environment that promotes the commercialisation of SAF and helps close the cost gap compared to petroleum-based jet fuel.
Introduction Chapter 1 1.1 Overview of the Jet fuel market 1.2 Emissions 1.3 The Challenge ahead Chapter 2 2.1 What are Sustainable Aviation Fuels? 2.2 Where is it currently being distributed? 2.3 SAF already under offtake agreements 2.4 SAF Production 2.5 Recognised feedstocks under ICAO CORSIA 2.6 Approved conversion processes / processes under evaluation 2.7 Conversion yields, capital costs, and prices 2.8 Which pathway is the most relevant to the Sugar industry? 2.9 The ATJ process in more detail Chapter 3 3.1 Policies in place or under development 3.2 SAF policy in Europe 3.3 SAF Policies in the US 3.4 SAF and Sugar Sector Feasibility Studies Conclusion Appendix