Unveiling Recent Developments in the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Driving the Market to Reach $131 Billion by 2033

27 Sep 2023

The aviation industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, accounting for about 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In order to meet climate goals, the industry is rapidly transitioning to sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). 

SAFs are made from renewable or recycled materials, such as biomass, waste oils, and captured carbon dioxide. Several major airlines, including United Airlines and British Airways, have committed to using SAFs.

As per the estimation of BIS Research, the sustainable aviation fuel market is expected to reach $131.12 billion by 2033 from $0.66 billion in 2022. This estimation is expected to grow at a CAGR of 58.78% during the forecast period (2023-2033). 

From ingenious sourcing methods to cutting-edge production techniques, key players in the industry are driving the transition toward a more eco-friendly and economically viable aviation future.

This blog will delve into the latest advancements in sustainable aviation fuel. It will shed light on the innovative strides taken to soar to new heights of sustainability and economic growth. 

Commercial Aviation Sector to Dominate the Global Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market

As air travel experiences rapid growth, the environmental impact of aviation has escalated into a matter of paramount concern. With the aim of mitigating the carbon footprint of aircraft, the utilization of SAF presents a prospective solution. 

Here are some recent developments in commercial aviation concerning SAFs:

Increasing Production Capacity:

Several companies are working to increase the production capacity of SAFs. For example, in 2022, Fulcrum BioEnergy announced plans to build a new SAF production plant in Nevada with a capacity of 100 million gallons per year.

Improving the Economics of SAFs:

The cost of SAFs is still higher than conventional jet fuel, but the price gap is narrowing. In 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the cost of SAFs had fallen to $1.50 per gallon, compared to $2.20 per gallon for conventional jet fuel. 

Developing New SAF Production Technologies:

Researchers are developing new technologies to produce SAFs from a wider range of feedstocks, including waste oils, municipal waste, and captured carbon dioxide. For example, in 2022, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, developed a new process to produce SAFs from carbon dioxide and water using solar energy.

Advancing Regulations for SAFs:

Governments are working to advance regulations for SAFs to make them more widely available. For example, in 2023, the U.S. government announced plans for airlines to use a certain percentage of SAFs by 2030.

Biofuel Segment to Lead the Global Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market

In 2023, the biofuel segment is projected to assert its dominance in the sustainable aviation fuel market, capturing a significant 95.64% share of the revenue. This prevalence is attributed to the robust demand for sustainable aviation fuel within the aviation sector.

In 2023, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showcased an innovative method of manufacturing a crucial element of aviation fuel using lignin, a plant-derived substance often discarded as waste during the processing of biomass.

Moreover, the fuel type category encompasses a range of options, including hydrogen fuel, biofuel, power-to-liquid, and gas-to-liquid. These diverse fuels offer pathways to attain net zero emissions and diminish carbon footprints. 

Recently, in August 2023, Delta Air Lines reaffirms its dedication to environmentally responsible commercial operations, underscoring the significance of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as a foundational element for upcoming eco-friendly flights. However, the challenge lies in the global supply of SAF, which remains significantly inadequate, consequently contributing to elevated costs.

Ongoing advancements in manufacturing technologies are consistently elevating the capabilities and effectiveness of sustainable aviation fuel, driving its continuous integration and development.

Global Endeavors Igniting the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market 

The aviation sector's steadfast commitment to reducing its carbon footprint has spurred companies across the globe to engage in groundbreaking research and development. This has resulted in a series of remarkable breakthroughs.

Google Joins Shell in Sustainable Aviation Fuel Credit Initiative

Google has entered the ranks of multinational corporations that are now part of a blockchain platform supported by Shell. This platform facilitates the sale of sustainable aviation biofuel (SAF) credits to corporate clients. The revenue generated from these credits will be directed toward amplifying the growth of the nascent market for aircraft fuels that generate fewer emissions.

Originating from a collaboration between Shell and American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), the Avelia program, launched in 2022, has an initial objective to provide corporate customers with 1 million gallons of SAF credits. This quantity is estimated to be sufficient to power approximately 15,000 business flights from London to New York City.

United Airlines Commits $200 Million to Sustainable Fuel Startups

United Airlines has elevated its investment in startups focusing on sustainable aviation fuel to a substantial $200 million. This endeavor has garnered the involvement of fellow airline companies, each contributing to this cause. 

In 2023, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) introduced a comprehensive strategy that outlines the necessary steps to realize the aviation sector's ambitious goal of achieving complete emissions neutrality by 2050.

This comprehensive strategy encompasses the establishment of approximately 7,000 bio-refineries dedicated to producing SAF and the substantial reduction of over 700 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. SAF, in conjunction with complementary measures such as hybrid electric engines, is anticipated to constitute 65% of the industry's collective endeavors in meeting the demanding criteria of net zero emissions.

SAF+ Consortium and the eFuels Alliance Collaborated to Empower e-SAF Segment

The SAF+ Consortium and the eFuels Alliance, both prominent entities in the sustainable aviation fuel domain, united their efforts in August 2023 to propel the expansion of the electro-sustainable aviation fuel (e-SAF) sector.

e-SAF presents an expeditious and efficient pathway accessible to stakeholders in the industry for attaining the ambitious goal of zero emissions by 2050. The production of these electrified fuels demands significant quantities of electricity yet offers the advantage of abundant feedstock harnessed from water and CO2 extracted from the atmosphere. 


The appetite for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has surged in recent times and is projected to continue its upward trajectory in the foreseeable future. 

According to Nilopal Ojha, Principal Analyst, BIS Research, “Major airlines and industry players have acknowledged the importance of sustainability and have committed to increasing the use of SAF in their operations. This has spurred investment in SAF manufacturing facilities and fostered industry innovation, leading to better scalability and cost competitiveness.” 

Thus, the sustainable aviation fuel market is poised to align with environmental progress, facilitating the construction of a more sustainable aviation future.