UK government announces £53m funding for SAF industry

posted on 20th November 2023 by William Hallowell
UK government announces £53m funding for SAF industry

The UK government has announced £53 million in funding to boost the UK’s sustainable aviation fuel industry.

From utilising forest waste to transforming power to liquid fuel, nine “pioneering” projects helping to create a “brighter, cleaner future” have been awarded a share of funding in the latest round of the UK Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund.

The full £135m Advanced Fuels Fund pot is designed to help companies convert waste materials and by-products, such as household waste like cooking oil and industrial gases, into fuels. It can also help achieve greenhouse gas emissions savings of more than 70 per cent compared to conventional fossil jet fuel.

Mark Harper, transport secretary, said: “The investment we’re announcing demonstrates our confidence in the UK’s SAF industry, creating jobs, encouraging overseas investment and levelling up communities across the whole country.

“Thanks to this government’s backing, the UK is quickly becoming a SAF superpower, ensuring people can continue to travel how they want, in a way that’s fit for the future.”

Winning projects from both rounds of funding will help create up to 10,000 green jobs by 2035 and boost the economy by around £1.8b every year, the government said.

This round’s winning projects include a demo plant converting sawmill and forestry waste, and a commercial plant using power-to-liquid technology to convert carbon dioxide and green hydrogen into plane fuel. Together, the government predicts that both projects could create over 70,000 tonnes of SAF a year.

As a result, the UK could soon have the capabilities to produce up to 810,000 tonnes of SAF, which is enough to fly around the equator an estimated 3,108 times.

With the upcoming SAF mandate requiring that at least 10 per cent of jet fuel come from sustainable feedstocks by 2030, the Advanced Fuel Fund is helping deliver that target, according to the government.

It believes that this will see the industry save up to 2.7m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. Statistics from the Department for Transport suggest this would be equal to taking almost 1.3 million petrol cars off the road in a year.

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, said: “Delivering a UK SAF industry this decade is a must if we are to drive down emissions from aviation, meet our 10 per cent SAF mandate and reduce costs for consumers.

“The pieces of the puzzle are coming together but more work is needed, in particular to deliver the initial plants under construction by 2025, whilst keeping overall transition costs as low as possible for passengers, so air travel can continue to be enjoyed by all in the decades to come.”

The government added that last week’s announcements are a “milestone marker” ahead of the world’s first transatlantic flight using 100 per cent SAF on 28 November.

Image credit: @nadl2022/Adobe Stock