Ireland has the potential to develop a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry generating revenue of €2.55 billion by 2050 and providing up to 1,000 high-skilled jobs. These are the findings of a feasibility study into the production of SAF in Ireland produced by SkyNRG and SFS Ireland, in a partnership supported by Avolon, Boeing and ORIX Aviation.
Launched by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD, Ireland’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Opportunity looks at the key role SAF will play in helping the aviation industry achieve its net zero goal by 2050. IATA estimates that SAF, which can be used to replace traditional jet fuel, will deliver over 60% of the contribution needed to reduce aviation emissions to reach net zero by 2050. The European Union’s ReFuelEU initiative obligates fuel suppliers to blend SAF into the fuel available at all EU airports, rising from 6% SAF by 2030, to 70% by 2050.
To meet EU mandated SAF volumes alone Ireland will require approximately 10 SAF plants of 80 kilo tons production capacity each. This would create an Irish SAF sector generating revenue of €2.55 billion per annum and could provide up to 1,000 high-skilled jobs in direct and indirect employment. Further export opportunities could significantly increase these numbers.
The research finds that the biggest opportunity for Ireland lies in Power to Liquid (PtL) production of eSAF, a synthetic fuel produced by combining green hydrogen (extracted through electrolysis from water using renewable energy) with biogenic CO2. SAF derived from bio-based intermediates like renewable natural gas has potential to scale up more rapidly to fulfill the advanced biofuels portion of the ReFuelEU mandate.