Dubai AFP

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected that Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) production will triple in 2024 to 1.9 billion liters (1.5 million tonnes).

This projection is expected to meet 0.53% of the aviation industry's fuel needs this year, and to boost the use of SAF, governments can implement various policy measures.

Speaking at the 80th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit, being held in Dubai from June 2 to 4, IATA's Director General Willie Walsh said, "SAF will provide about 65% of the mitigation needed for airlines to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050."

"So the expected tripling of SAF production in 2024 from 2023 is encouraging. We still have a long way to go, but the direction of exponential increases is starting to come into focus," he added, according to WAM.

SAF is a part of renewable fuel production, which is used by many industries. Increasing renewable fuel production is essential to boost SAF. There are around 140 projects that can produce SAF, scheduled to start by 2030.

If the planned projects are executed, then renewable fuel production could reach 51 million tonnes by 2030, covering almost all regions.

The production could also exceed this estimate if more investors become interested in SAF. It usually takes three to five years from planning to production, hence, investments made by 2027 could be producing fuel by 2030.

"The interest in SAF is growing and there is plenty of potential. But the concrete plans that we have seen so far are far from sufficient. Governments have set clear expectations for aviation to achieve a 5% CO2 emissions reduction through SAF by 2030 and to be net zero carbon emissions by 2050," Walsh said.

"They now need to implement policies to ensure that airlines can actually purchase SAF in the required quantities," he added.

To help reduce aviation's carbon footprint, it is important to provide incentives for building more renewable energy facilities, strengthening the feedstock supply chain, and allocating more renewable fuel to aviation, Walsh explained.

He further said that the governments can also speed up the approval process for diverse feedstocks and production methodologies, as well as co-processing renewable feedstocks in crude oil plants.

"No one policy or strategy will get us to the needed levels. But by using a combination of all potential policy measures, producing sufficient quantities of SAF is absolutely possible," Walsh added.