Ireland’s Potential to Shape the Future of Sustainable Aviation Fuel Manufacturing

March 13, 2023

Aircraft Leasing Ireland (ALI), the Ibec group that represents the aircraft leasing sector in Ireland, together with KPMG, has today published a new report (attached below) entitled ‘SAF Manufacturing in Ireland’ which looks at the opportunities available to Ireland in the development of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to decarbonise the aviation sector.
SAF is the collective name for commercially used biofuels and synthetic fuels (synfuels or Power-to-liquid, PtL) that are compatible with current jet engine technology and can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional jet fuel. It can be produced in any country, but it faces a number of challenges such as the availability of feedstock or green electricity, cost, sustainability certification, investment and demand from other sectors such as road transport. 
This report outlines the actions that the aircraft leasing sector, through ALI and the support of the Government, can take including establishing a framework for SAF production, partnering with universities to fund SAF research and development, and supporting the creation of a sustainability accreditation register. 
Speaking on the publication of the report, Marie-Louise Kelly, Chairperson of ALI, said, “The aviation industry is targeting net zero emissions by 2050. While technologies such as electric flight and hydrogen power are being developed, SAF is the most promising solution that the aviation sector has in the decarbonisation of our skies as it is not only available near-term, but it is also scalable.

“Ireland holds a unique position in the global aviation sector as the home of most of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies that, together, own almost 50% of the global fleet of aircraft. As a sector, we are keenly aware of the role we can and must play in helping Ireland, and the world, meet its carbon emission reduction targets. The ‘SAF Manufacturing in Ireland’ report focuses on how ALI, working alongside Government, can accelerate the development, manufacture, distribution and use of SAF.” 
Jan Melgaard, Chair of ALI’s Sustainability Committee, said, “Demand for SAF is growing and its production is ramping up globally, particularly in the US, but existing and planned SAF projects alone cannot decarbonise the aviation sector nor support the levels of demand. By incentivising the development and production of SAF, this Government can help attract what will be a game-changing manufacturing sector to Ireland, which will also lead to the creation of a significant number of highly skilled jobs.” 

Shane O’Reilly, Director, KPMG, said, “As a country, Ireland is well positioned to support the development and production of SAF as we have significant sources of key items required, namely renewable electricity, and agricultural and forestry residues, not to mention the intellectual capital actively involved in this sector. SAF development is also closely aligned with Government targets for independent, renewable energy production, therefore we must work closely together to accelerate its production and adoption.”   


SAF in Ireland - ALI and KMPG March 2023 pdf | 853.7 kb