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Knowledge Special: SAF TALKSTM

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is recognized as the most important solution currently available to the aviation industry as it looks to drive down its CO2 emissions and lower its impact on the environment. SAF is presently the only sustainable alternative to conventional jet fuel but yet it currently provides just 0.1-0.15% of global jet fuel use.

So what will it take to get SAF use off the ground? In our special Topsoe SAF Talks Series, recorded at the December 2022’s SAF Summit in Copenhagen, we gathered global experts spanning the SAF value chain to share their opinions and latest insights.

All the key factors, such as regulation, mandates, incentivization, technologies, upscaling needs and investment, future SAF pathways, and the need for collaboration are discussed by some of the leading voices in the industry.



Sustainable Feedstock, Certification, and Regulation: Two Topsoe Experts Talk Top Topics in SAF

Feedstock supply, sustainability, and stability within regulations and legislation provide three of the three top SAF topics under discussion between Topsoe Senior Director Mikala Grubb and Senior Strategist Sylvain Verdier. The two experts discuss the importance of sustainable feedstock supply and sustainable certification, as well as the dynamic nature of sustainability and how legislation can encourage investment in the SAF industry.


Starting the engines for the methanol-to-jet take off

Gabriel Antberg, Senior Business Development Manager, gives his views on the huge potential of the methanol-to-jet pathway currently under development. Methanol-to-jet is an exceptionally promising SAF pathway but it is still in its infancy, though ASTM approval looks like a certainty in 2023. Once it has been evaluated, investment decisions on plant construction are likely to quickly follow. Meanwhile, a demonstration plant is set to come online in Denmark in 2025, in this exciting area. 


Neste readying to ramp up SAF production

Astrid Sonneveld, Business Development Manager for Renewable Aviation at Neste, discusses the need for the industry to diversify SAF pathways, looks at Neste’s portfolio strategy when it comes to boosting production, and talks about the three main challenges to producing aviation fuel at scale. 


Plane to see: Pathways and technologies will deliver emission reductions

Robert Boyd, Regional Lead in Global Sustainability for Boeing, examines some of the aviation industry’s pathways toward net zero and what each can deliver – from technology (fleet replacement) to operational efficiency and fossil fuel replacements, such as SAF. Infrastructure, compatibility and readiness for SAF is high on the Boeing agenda. 


SAF, cost competitiveness and government collaboration

Anders Fagernæs, Vice President, Sustainability at Norwegian, looks at covering the price gap between the more sustainable SAF and petroleum-based fuel and the possibilities of creating a climate partnership with the Norwegian government that would increase predictability and discuss how taxation money could be invested in aviation emission reductions. Anders also predicts 14-16% emission reduction through a complete fleet renewal project and if it can deliver a competitive advantage.  


Finding the funding and finance for SAF

Anders Thorsen, Senior Vice President of EIFO, the Danish export financing agency discusses the role and goals of EIFO and how they can facilitate investment in projects, such as new technology, that need to be de-risked. Anders also discusses the trends in the financing of SAF projects and the growth he has seen in project size and complexity over the last few years – it’s time to “go big or go home”!


Do we have enough feedstocks to feed SAF demand projections?

Is there enough feedstock to meet SAF demand? Alba Soler, the Science Executive Refining Transition, Concawe, looks at biofuels and eFuels and the potential they have to supply the market. Scale, technology, supply chain, regulation, imports and investment are just some all factors that need to fall into place if the industry is to keep on track for 2030 and 2050 sustainability goals. 


Many pathways to one destination

What will it take to reach 63% SAF in 2050 in the EU? Oskar Meijerink from SkyNRG believes it will require collaboration and a combination of all available pathways to reach the ambitious, but realistic, target. Sustainability is more than just CO2 reduction, however, with Oskar delving into other areas, such as aviation impact, agricultural practices and biodiversity. 


What role will airports play in SAF uptake?

Marie Louise Hansen, (former) Head of Corporate Sustainability at Copenhagen airport, talks about the responsibility of airports to decarbonize their own infrastructure and the huge role they play in enabling their partners – such as airline companies and carriers – on their decarbonization journey. Marie looks at the future of airport structures as new technologies come online and how airports can create awareness of SAF’s benefits among the public. 

Expert perspectives on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

This report provides a comprehensive review of the opportunities and challenges for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) adoption, featuring leading experts from across the value chain.


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Milica Folić

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