Deutsche Aircraft Joins Drive to Upscale European SAF Production

Attendees at SAF conference in Bodo, Norway
Photo Credit: Deutsche Aircraft

While Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are crucial for achieving climate-neutral aviation in Europe, investment in e-fuel production across the European Economic Area (EEA) is lagging behind.

To address this challenge, German aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft convened along with key industry players. They recently hosted a two-day conference focused on accelerating e-fuel production capacity.

ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation Sets SAF Goals

The ReFuelEU Aviation regulation mandates a significant increase in the use of SAF within the European fuel mix.

By 2050, the regulation aims for a 70% SAF blend, with a 35% sub-mandate specifically for e-kerosene.

Transport & Environment, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has been tracking the development of the European e-kerosene market.

Their latest findings reveal 50 e-kerosene projects in the EEA, including 30 large-scale industrial facilities and 20 smaller pilot projects.

Scaling Up & Commercial Hurdles

The conference brought together key stakeholders from the public sector, airports, SAF producers, financiers, and airlines. A keypoint of their discussion was the commercial barriers hindering the scaling up of SAF and e-fuel production capacity.

Marte van der Graaf, Aviation Policy Officer at Transport & Environment, highlighted the critical need for investment decisions.

While momentum is building, none of the major e-kerosene projects have reached the final investment decision stage yet. Many are still in feasibility study phases.

Jan-Hendrik Petersen, Managing Director at 360 Asset Finance, emphasized the immense production capacity required to meet the ReFuelEU mandate.

A staggering number of production facilities would be needed to achieve the 70% SAF blending target globally.

Norway Leads the Way in E-Fuel Development

Bent-Joacim Bentzen, Norwegian Deputy Minister for Transportation, acknowledged the importance of sustainable aviation for national and international climate goals.

Norway is taking a proactive stance by establishing collaborative forums and allocating significant funding to accelerate the transition to a greener aviation sector.

The conference discussions pinpointed the critical need for improved access to financing for SAF projects.

Risk-return profiles are currently seen as unattractive for investors. This is particularly so for e-kerosene due to its early development stage compared to other SAF pathways.

Overcoming Obstacles: Collaboration is Key

Ulrike Ziegler, President of the Board at Impact on Sustainable Aviation, spoke on the need for effective partnerships. He emphasized the need for collaboration across the aviation supply chain.

Policymakers, industry players, and passengers all have roles to play in overcoming obstacles. Investors require transparent long-term offtake agreements and appropriate risk mitigation tools, while educating passengers is crucial to gain their support.

Promising E-Fuel Projects Showcase Potential

The conference also provided a platform for SAF producers like Norsk e-Fuel to showcase their projects. Their 50 million liter production plant in Mosjøen exemplifies the progress being made.

Ida Larsen, Head of R&D at Norsk e-Fuel, highlighted the importance of collaboration between value chain partners and local stakeholders.

Their successful offtake agreement with Norwegian Air Shuttle demonstrates the value of such partnerships in further promoting e-fuel projects.

Regina Pouzolz, Director of Sustainability at Deutsche Aircraft, concluded by emphasizing the potential for regions like Northern Norway. The opportunity is open to become pioneers in near-climate-neutral regional aviation.

She invited stakeholders to a planned future event. Here they can learn more about how Deutsche Aircraft is reshaping regional aviation through partnerships.

A Deutsche Aircraft D328eco aircraft in flight.
Photo Credit: Deutsche Aircraft

About Deutsche Aircraft

German aircraft manufacturer Deutsche Aircraft leverages its heritage from aviation pioneers to continuously propel the industry forward with innovative solutions.

Supported by a highly skilled and passionate team of international engineers and aviation experts, Deutsche Aircraft is developing the most advanced regional aircraft on the market: the D328eco.

The company is the type certificate holder and service partner for existing D328 (both prop and jet) operators worldwide. As such, it is uniquely positioned to complement the existing fleet with this next-generation aircraft.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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