Europe on Track to Meet Initial SAF Targets, But Further Support Needed, Says New Report

The latest SAF Market Outlook report from SkyNRG indicates that European airlines and suppliers are on course to meet the initial targets set by the ReFuel EU initiative. This initiative mandates that 2% of aviation fuel uplifted in Europe be Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by 2025, increasing to 6% by 2030. However, the report emphasizes that continued policy support and financial investment will be crucial for European airlines to meet and exceed these targets.

The promising forecast shows that Europe is well-positioned to provide the necessary SAF by 2025. However, challenges remain in maintaining this momentum and accelerating SAF production sites, particularly for e-SAF, many of which are still in the feasibility stage and must be operational as soon as possible.

At the report’s launch event in Brussels on 11 June, Laurent Donceel, Deputy Managing Director of Airlines for Europe (A4E), highlighted several obstacles the European SAF sector faces. These include the high costs of production and supply, access to renewable energy, availability of SAF across the EU, and ensuring the sustainability of feedstock used in European SAF.

Donceel remarked, “It is positive to see that SkyNRG forecasts there will be sufficient SAF to meet the requirements of ReFuel EU until 2030. But many European airlines aren’t stopping there. They want to do more, so it is important that Europe designs a SAF industrial policy that addresses the cost of production, accelerates the supply, and ultimately brings down the cost of SAF in Europe. Synthetic fuels in aviation, which will form part of the EU’s ReFuel mandate, will require particular attention in the coming months. e-SAF will require a large amount of clean energy and hydrogen for their production and yet have failed to catch enough attention from financial markets and policy-makers so far.”

He continued, “Growing a nascent SAF industry into one that will provide the majority of the fuel for airlines is a monumental task. For airlines, there is a need to work with airports to help develop the market for SAF; finance needs to flow into the sector, and the energy industry needs to get serious about the transition away from fossil fuels. This report shows that a sustained effort from users, producers, policymakers, and financers will ensure we reach our targets. The stakes are too important for them not to deliver, and this report should be a clarion call to all to knuckle down and deliver.”

The ReFuel EU initiative is part of the European Union’s broader strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The push for SAF is a critical component of this strategy, as aviation remains one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise.

With the positive outlook from SkyNRG, the European SAF sector appears to be on the right path, but the need for a robust industrial policy and increased investment is clear. Ensuring the availability and affordability of SAF, particularly synthetic fuels, will be vital in meeting and surpassing the EU’s ambitious aviation fuel targets.