Sustainable Aviation Fuel
We’re collaborating to accelerate the development of a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) industry in Australia.
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The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is central to achieving our interim targets and net zero by 2050 goal. With long-haul routes accounting for the majority of the Group’s emissions profile, SAF is the only viable technology/decarbonisation option available across all of our operations.
Our target is for 10 per cent of our fuel use to come from SAF by 2030 and approximately 60 per cent by 2050.
The use of SAF is increasing globally - particularly in Europe, the UK, and the US - as governments and industry work together to find ways to steadily decarbonise the aviation sector through government fuel subsidies, SAF blending mandates, financial incentives (subsidies and tax incentives) and additional project-based funding such as capital grants and loans.
Qantas has a number of initiatives in train to help kickstart a Domestic SAF industry, including our $400 million Climate Fund, and Corporate SAF program.
The Group is part of the Federal Government’s Jet Zero Council and continues to advocate for a SAF blending mandate as part of a broader framework of industry policies, similar to those already announced in other jurisdictions. The Group is part of the Federal Government’s Jet Zero Council and continues to advocate for a SAF blending mandate as part of a broader framework of industry policies, similar to those already announced in other jurisdictions. To support this, the Group engaged ICF International, in partnership with Airbus, to model a policy roadmap for Australia. The Developing a SAF industry to decarbonise Australian aviation report [pdf] recommends the government implement a SAF mandate coupled with $1.5 billion in capital grants and production incentives tied to carbon emission reduction. This policy suite has the potential to contribute over $12 billion to the economy by 2040 creating or sustaining over 70,000 jobs.
In December 2021, Qantas became the first Australian airline to purchase SAF on an ongoing basis, which is being delivered at London Heathrow Airport.
In March 2022, the Qantas Group entered into an agreement to purchase SAF for delivery in California (Los Angeles/San Francisco) from 2025.
This has the potential to meet up to 90 per cent of the Group’s interim SAF target for 2030.
How does SAF reduce emissions?
- Certified Sustainable Feedstock including wastes and residues such as cooking oil and council waste. Most materials on Earth are carbon-based including jet fuel. Sustainable feedstocks include wastes for which the carbon has already been accounted in the use of the primary product or has been absorbed from the atmosphere in its production. International certification bodies, such as the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, describe requirements for the calculation of the carbon lifecycle impacts and broader sustainability criteria for certification of sustainable feedstocks.
- Sustainable feedstock converted into sustainable jet fuel. Sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oil, biomass and waste residues are broken down through chemical processing before being built back up into a long chain hydro-carbon – making a sustainable jet fuel.
- Sustainable jet fuel is blended up to 50/50 with fossil jet fuel. The sustainable jet fuel is blended up to 50 per cent with fossil jet fuel and tested to ensure it meets the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials for aviation fuel to become a certified Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). It can technically be blended at a higher level, but 50/50 is the current specified amount.
- Blended Sustainable Aviation Fuel delivered into the Aircraft Wing. The certified Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), which is now considered equivalent to jet fuel, is then delivered to the shared re-fuelling infrastructure at airports and into the wing.
What is Sustainable Aviation Fuel?
SAF is non-conventionally derived aviation fuel that can be made from sustainable biogenic sources such as used cooking oils, council waste, plant oils, agricultural residues and non-biological sources.
Biogenic SAF has the potential to reduce emissions on a lifecycle basis, typically by up to 80% compared with conventional jet fuel. Non-biogenic SAF or synthetic fuel is a pathway which utilises carbon dioxide, hydrogen and significant amounts of renewable electricity to synthesise a liquid fuel with favourable sustainability characteristics (emissions can be reduced on a lifecycle basis by up to 90% compared to fossil fuels).
In addition to the reduction of total life cycle CO2 emissions, SAF reduces direct emissions: particulate matter by up to 90% and sulphur by 100%, compared with conventional jet fuel. Reducing these emissions improves local air quality, particularly in areas with a high density of flight movements, such as airports.
Our program supports the development of an Australian domestic SAF sector by providing a strong corporate demand signal for SAF while helping corporations to tackle their business travel emissions.
As a member of the Qantas SAF Coalition, corporations contribute to direct emission reductions by contributing to the incremental cost of SAF being purchased by Qantas.
These partnerships are crucial to making SAF affordable, which can be several times more expensive than traditional jet fuel.
Interested in joining us on the journey to driving the development of Australia’s SAF industry?
Disclaimer: 1. Based on meeting certain criteria under Airbus and Boeing deals, including partnership with the manufacturers on SAF projects. The agreement includes ~80 million litres of SAF per annum from existing projects. The remaining volume will be sourced through investment in new projects.