Aircraft lessor Avolon is collaborating with Boeing, ORIX Aviation, SFS Ireland and SkyNRG, to conduct a feasibility study into the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Ireland.

The study will be completed in 2023 and is led by SFS Ireland and SkyNRG to identify opportunities for an investable commercial-scale SAF production facility. SAF is commercial fuel that reduces lifecycle emissions by up to 80%, creating the opportunity to significantly lower aviation’s reliance on fossil fuels, as well as its overall emissions.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sees SAF as playing a key role in helping aviation reach its net zero target by 2050, a target set by member airlines contributing to around 65% of the reduced emissions needed.

Avolon CEO Andy Cronin said: “It is imperative that the aviation sector delivers on its promise to invest in reducing its carbon footprint, and we have a shared ambition of being at the forefront of sustainable innovation. The path to net zero requires a combination of new technology aircraft and large-scale deployment of SAF.”

Boeing environmental vice president Sheila Remes commented: “We will need a massive increase in the amount of SAF if we are to reach our industry’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Ireland’s growth in renewable energy makes it a prime location for SAF production. Global partnerships like this enable us all to advocate for and scale SAF supply.”

ORIX Aviation CEO James Meyler added: “Further development and large scale commercialisation of SAF is a critical milestone for the industry to reach together and this project will help deliver on that.”

SFS Ireland’s Darren Carty continued: “Aviation has a rich history in Ireland, embedded in over 50 years of innovation and leadership. As pilots, we understand and acknowledge the importance of delivering SAF to the market and see the Irish aviation industry as a central player in the mission to decarbonise air transport globally.”

SkyNRG CEO Philippe Lacamp concluded: “The aviation industry will rely on a number of pathways to meet its net-zero 2050 targets and collaboration with global experts to help drive innovation in SAF is key to this being successful.

“Each new SAF research project brings us one step closer to identifying what production pathways and sustainable feedstocks are available and helping evaluate how best to assist the aviation industry in meeting mandated targets.”