North America to dominate SAF production capacity by 2030

North America is expected to produce 2,418 million gallons per annum of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2030, followed by Europe and Asia with 1,246 million gallons per annum and 898 million gallons per annum, respectively.

That’s according to a new reported, titled SAF market production capacity analysis by region, refinery type, top countries, and companies to 2030, and published by data and analytics company GlobalData.

Noting SAF as a prominent solution to reducing carbon emissions, the report says the growth in SAF production will be the result of a “slew” of projects. Focused on the US, the report highlights Decatur Renewable, US, Renewable II, and Houston Renewable III as major projects.

Bhargavi Gandham, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, said, “The global SAF production capacity is primarily being planned through standalone renewable refineries. Some crude oil refineries are also either being converted into fully or partially renewable refineries to accelerate SAF production capacity in the future.”

The report defines SAF as environmentally friendly and says it is relatively pure when compared to conventional jet fuel. It further notes that SAF is rapidly gaining prominence globally with most of the production being planned through standalone renewable refineries.

As noted by the US Department of Energy, SAF can be produced from non-petroleum-based renewable feedstocks including, but not limited to, the food and yard waste portion of municipal solid waste, woody biomass, fats/greases/oils, and other feedstocks.

Further to this, eSAFs combine green hydrogen (i.e., hydrogen produced in electrolysers from renewable energy and water) and carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce eMethanol, which can then be converted to a wide range of sustainable fuels.

Regional targets

Data released in the report supports a positive outlook for the Biden Administration’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge. Unveiled in September 2021, the challenge hopes to see the production of three million gallons of SAF per year by 2030.

Similarly, in Europe, the European Council released its ReFuelEU Aviation rules as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, which aims to increase the share of sustainable fuels at EU airports from a minimum of 2% in 2025 to 70% by 2050, with an additional sub target for eSAF of 1.2% by 2030 and 35% in 2050.

e-methanol, SAF and PtL: The future of CO2 utilisation

The route to decarbonisation and the energy transition has sometimes been described as defossilisation. Liquid fuels are incredibly useful energy vectors due to their high energy density and ease of handling. Gasoline, diesel, aviation kerosene and heavy fuel oil have become the fuels of choice for cars, trucks, planes, and shipping.

The challenge is to substitute these refined products that are derived from crude oil with sustainable, convenient and cost-effective alternatives.

Liquid fuels of a non-fossil origin are one such solution. Methanol and e-methanol are seen as viable alternatives for fuelling trucks, buses and marine applications, for example.

e-methanol burns with almost no particulate emissions and, since it contains no sulfur, the emissions are free of sulfur dioxide. The use of e-methanol for road and maritime applications would reduce pollutant gas emissions. Methanol, like diesel and heavy fuel oil, does produce CO2 emissions during combustion. However, since e-methanol is made from captured CO2 the emissions are carbon neutral: e-methanol is not a fossil fuel…

If you’re a gasworld subscriber, continue reading all about e-methanol, synthetic aviation fuel (SAF), hydrogen, electrolysis and CCUS in this exclusive feature, here.

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