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UK SAF mandate to activate in Jan 2025

UK government has confirmed that its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandate will come into force in January 2025. In September 2023, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a ‘revenue certainty mechanism’ to kickstart the SAF industry.

To make this happen the DfT introduced a SAF mandate which will require at least 10% of all jet fuel in flights taking off from the UK to come from sustainable feedstocks by 2030.

SAFs are typically derived by combining jet fuel with alternatives such as biofuels or recycled oils from industrial food facilities to achieve carbon savings of up to 70%. As reported in FTN, in November 2023 the first-ever transatlantic flight between London and New York powered entirely with SAF took off from Heathrow.

The SAF mandate will provide an incentive to produce the fuel via price support from tradable certificates with a monetary value. The DfT has confirmed that, following extensive consultations with the industry, it has committed to “ambitious but achievable targets” that will see around 1.2 million tonnes of SAF supplied to the UK airline industry each year.

This follows a £135m investment allocated through the Advanced Fuels Fund, which will
support the growth of 13 SAF projects across the country, with the potential to create 10,000 jobs. The mandate also addresses the fact that SAF is more expensive than traditional jet fuel, at least in the immediate term. While this could drive ticket prices up, the government states the mandate has mechanisms in place to ensure that “decarbonisation doesn’t come at the expense of consumers”.

“As part of our plan to grow the economy, the measures announced today will give both UK aviation and the UK SAF industry the certainty they need to keep creating skilled British jobs, while giving passengers the freedom to continue travelling by air in a way that’s fit for the future,” said transport secretary Mark Harper.

The government has also launched a consultation into a range of options for a SAF revenue certainty scheme, which aims to guarantee revenue from SAF and provide new and existing producers and investors with the confidence to continue investing in the industry.

This issue of funding was addressed by a number of environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the New Economics Foundation, last year following the initial announcement of the SAF mandate. The charities expressed concern that while the government proposes the scheme should be industry funded, this could “be interpreted in different ways” that could ultimately see taxpayer money being used to support it.

While SAF can be created in a number of ways, the mandate specifically aims to encourage SAF made from different types of waste, such as sawdust and bark from forests. Government claims that this will help tackle global issues such as deforestation, biodiversity and competition with food production while placing a cap on fuel primarily made from cooking oil, which is the cheapest and most developed SAF pathway.


Author: FTN Editor

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