Ireland could have €2.55b SAF industry by 2050, report says

posted on 25th October 2023 by William Hallowell
Ireland could have €2.55b SAF industry by 2050, report says

A new report claims that Ireland could have a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry with a €2.55b revenue by 2050.

The study, produced by SkyNRG and SFS Ireland, in a partnership supported by Avolon, Boeing and ORIX Aviation, was launched today by the Irish minister for enterprise, trade and employment, Simon Coveney.

It predicts that by 2050, the Irish SAF industry will create up to 1,000 high-skilled jobs, coinciding with the global aviation industry’s net zero carbon emissions target.

IATA (the International Air Transport Association) estimates that SAF, which can be used to replace traditional jet fuel, will deliver over 60 per cent of the contribution needed to reduce aviation emissions to reach net zero by 2050.

In September, the EU passed new rules requiring that fuel suppliers will now have to ensure that 2 per cent of fuel made available at EU airports is SAF by 2025, rising to 6 per cent by 2030, 20 per cent by 2035 and to 70 per cent by 2050.

To meet these volumes alone, Ireland will require approximately 10 SAF plants of 80 kilo tonnes production capacity each.

This would create an Irish SAF sector generating revenue of €2.55b per annum, the study, titled ‘Ireland’s Sustainable Aviation Fuel Opportunity’, found.

Mr Coveney said: “The government is committed to supporting EU and international action to reduce aviation emissions. The European Green Deal has set ambitious targets for reducing net emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, when compared to 1990 levels, and to be the first climate neutral continent by 2050.

“The agreement of the global long-term aspirational goal for international aviation at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which includes a collective global goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, further demonstrates the level of ambition of states and industry alike.

“We welcome the proactive approach from the aviation sector to progress its own net zero commitments. This research shows that there are clear future economic benefits from the green economy, which can create new jobs and exciting new business ventures. We look forward to engaging further with industry to explore Ireland’s SAF potential.”

The study’s findings recommend that the Irish government needs to set targets for sustainable aviation and incentivise businesses to “stimulate the development of both SAF and hydrogen” power. This includes capital allowances, tax credits, guaranteed minimum pricing and investment incentives.

It also recommends the government funds and promotes SAF technologies through research and development programmes, as well as reforming the planning process for SAF production plants, investing in hydrogen storage and transport, and encouraging collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Marie-Louise Kelly, chief financial officer of ORIX Aviation and chair of Aircraft Leasing Ireland, said: “ORIX Aviation joined with its partners Avolon, Boeing, SkyNRG and SFS Ireland on this ambitious project because we want to be part of the innovations and as crucially, the collaborations, that will define aviation’s journey to [a] net zero 2050.

“Along with our sectoral experience we were also able to add the wider ORIX Group’s extensive expertise in renewable power generation to this study. This report has identified multiple opportunities for Ireland on this journey.

She added that “we welcome the minister’s commitment to engage on SAF production and look forward to exploring ways to position Ireland at the heart of the global drive” to a sustainable aviation sector. 

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