UAE clean energy company Masdar and US aerospace major Boeing have teamed up to help advance the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry in the Emirates and globally, as the commercial aviation sector pushes forward with its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
The companies will collaborate in the development and adoption of policies, including accounting principles, for SAF, which are expected to help the industry overcome geographical barriers as its use continues to increase, Abu Dhabi-based Masdar said on Thursday.
The growth of the SAF industry will enable job creation and “significant” business opportunities, as well as contribute to economic growth, it said.
The companies signed a preliminary agreement at the Adipec conference in Abu Dhabi.
“Global net-zero goals can only be achieved through international collaboration and innovation,” said Mohammad El Ramahi, chief green hydrogen officer of Masdar.
“Together, we will advocate enabling policies to nurture this key market. Ahead of the UAE hosting Cop28 we will continue to leverage our combined knowledge, expertise and passion to support industry and create a more sustainable future for all.”
The Cop28 climate change conference is scheduled to be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 and is expected to be the most inclusive yet.
SAF refers to alternative fuels made from renewable sources, such as green hydrogen that are used to power aircraft.
The International Air Transport Association estimates that SAF could contribute to about 65 per cent of the reduction in emissions needed by the aviation industry to reach its net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.
Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organisation says SAF can reduce carbon emissions over the fuel’s life cycle by up to 85 per cent in comparison with petroleum jet fuel.
However, its adoption is still in early stages due to small-scale production and the green fuel’s higher cost, compared with conventional kerosene.
Producing the required quantities of SAF would need large areas of land and natural resources.
Air passengers will most likely have to foot the bill for switching to the cleaner fuel as the airline industry says its razor-thin profit margins means it has to pass on some of the cost to passengers, Iata said.
UAE industry majors have been active in supporting the SAF industry. On Tuesday, Adnoc’s Ruwais refinery received the International Sustainability Carbon Certification to produce SAF, in a first for a company in the Middle East.
On Monday, Dubai’s Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul carrier, signed an agreement with Shell Aviation for the supply of more than 300,000 gallons of blended SAF for use at its hub in Dubai.
“Adopting SAF is going to be aviation’s most powerful decarbonisation lever. Over a decade of collaboration between Boeing and the UAE in sustainable aviation is a testament to our shared goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050,” Kuljit Ghata-Aura, president of Boeing Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said.
Earlier this year, at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Masdar also announced that its initiative focusing on green hydrogen to produce SAF is actively working with licensers to certify a new production pathway for SAF from methanol.