Research shows potential for SAF in the UK

New research by industry coalition Sustainable Aviation confirms that the UK could be home to up to 14 sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facilities in areas across the country, making it a world leader in clean aviation technology.

The research by energy consultancy E4tech and commissioned by Sustainable Aviation shows that these facilities could be based in seven clusters: Teesside, Humberside, the North West of England, South Wales, Southampton, St Fergus and Grangemouth, places with the right feedstocks and infrastructure to turn household, agricultural and industrial waste and renewable electricity into jet fuel. Through UK production and global exports of technology and expertise, a UK SAF industry could deliver £2.9 billion annually to the UK economy, creating 20,200 jobs in SAF production and export services, with UK production saving 3.6 million tonnes of CO2  annually by 2038.

To get this nascent industry off the ground, Sustainable Aviation has called on the Government to commit to £500m of Government funding to support the essential commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels, including £429m in Government-backed loan guarantees for the initial first-of-its-kind SAF production facilities, £50m in grants and development support for new SAF technologies, and £21m to establish a UK clearinghouse to enable SAF testing and approval.

SAF must play a major role in enabling the aviation industry to deliver its commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions for all departing flights by 2050. This pressing need is alongside airspace modernisation and exciting engine and aircraft technologies, such as electrification and hydrogen.

Adam Morton, Chair of Sustainable Aviation, said:  “Sustainable aviation fuels will be essential for the global aviation industry in a net-zero world, and the UK has a golden opportunity to become a world-leader by commercialising this technology at an early stage. There are enormous benefits in terms of jobs and growth across these clusters. By backing SAF in this way, Government can kickstart a green recovery, create high quality and futureproof jobs for thousands of people.  All of this can be delivered at the same time as slashing carbon emissions.”

To read Sustainable Aviation’s submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review in full, please see here.