Masdar Inks Agreement with Airbus: Aiming to Shore Up Growth of Global Sustainable Aviation Fuel Market

    On May 16th, Masdar, the world’s leading clean energy company, inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus, a pioneer in manufacturing sustainable aerospace, in order to promote the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

    The agreement is expected to support the ongoing growth of the global SAF market.

    The contract was signed by Mikail Houari, President of Airbus Africa, and the Middle East, and Mohammad Abdelqader El Ramahi, Executive Director, Green Hydrogen, Masdar, reported ANI.

    Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Cabinet Member and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of UAE, President-Designate COP28 Managing Director and the Chairman of Masdar, Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer, Airbus SE, and Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar, were also present in the signing ceremony.

    More Insight into the Agreement

    According to Masdar, this wide-encompassing MoU would help both companies collaborate on the development of a wide range of sustainability-boosting advanced technologies – green hydrogen, SAF, and Direct Carbon Capture (DAC) projects.

    With the collaboration, Masdar is committed to promoting the book-and-claim systems as part of its effort to help corporate buyers (airlines) procure SAF without being geographically restricted to a manufacturing site.

    SAF Helping Achieve Net-Zero Target

    SAF has the potential to offer the efficiency of standard jet fuel but with a much smaller carbon footprint. 

    A “drop-in” SAF blended with 50% conventional jet fuel can reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by up to 80%, offering the aviation industry solid footing for significantly decoupling GHG emissions from flights.

    Since 2011, roughly 450,000 commercial flights powered by SAF have been taken to the skies globally.

    Despite being touted as a vital solution to cut down on CO2 emissions, global SAF production accounts for only 0.03% of total aviation fuel use and was less than 0.1% of all flights operated in 2021.

    However, the SAF production capacity needs to reach around 449 billion litres globally to hit the ICAO’s (International Civil Aviation Organization) goal of of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

    According to Airbus, combining hydrogen with the anthropogenic CO2 extracted from the atmosphere through Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies could be a promising method of boosting the production of synthetic SAF. 

    SAF synthesised with green hydrogen using captured CO2 and waste gases from industrial processes has the capability to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 95% when compared to traditional jet fuel. 

    The partnership between Airbus and Masdar is expected to act as a step-change towards decarbonising the industry while also decreasing the aviation sector’s contribution to climate change.

    “This MoU with Airbus further amplifies Masdar’s commitment to accelerating the reduction of global carbon emissions and pioneering worldwide efforts towards decarbonization,” stated Mohamed Jameel, CEO of Masder. “We look forward to working closely with Airbus to support the development of the global sustainable aviation fuel market and to exploring the adoption of creative low carbon solutions in support of net zero.”

    “Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is one of the best solutions for reducing the aviation sector’s carbon footprint and this agreement will support in advancing its much-needed development and growth, ” said Mikail Houari, The President of Airbus Africa and the Middle East. “At Airbus, we continue to lead the industry towards a more sustainable future. We are committed to contributing to driving innovation to support the ambition set by IATA, ATAG, and ICAO to reach “net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

    However, as bio-content in aviation fuel increases, the risk of microbial contamination also exacerbates. 

    Even though microbial contamination in SAF and blended SAF can’t be evaded completely, the effects can be determined and thus controlled by performing regular fuel tests using high-end kits like FUELSTAT®.

    Wrapping Up

    With more research conducted on producing 100% “drop-in” SAF, the global SAF market is poised to see substantial growth and reach a staggering $14B by 2032. By 2030, SAF is expected to make up 10% of all fuel used in the aviation sector.

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