Decarbonisation Technology - November 2022

RefuelEU regulation will drive demand for SAF in Europe RefuelEU is the first step on the long road to decarbonise aviation and will have a significant impact on the evolution of demand for SAF in Europe

Robin Nelson Consulting Editor

T he European Union’s ReFuelEU Trialogue negotiations between the three EU Institutions (EU Commission, Parliament and the Council of European Union) which started in September 2022. European aviation fuel suppliers will have two years to prepare, then from 2025 will be required to blend a minimum volume percentage of SAF in the aviation fuel supply. The mandated levels increase in steps every five years and include separate targets for the share of sustainable biofuels (biojet) and synthetic aviation fuels (e-kerosene) (see Figure 1 ). Biofuel components must meet the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions criteria in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED-II) and be certified in accordance with the regulation is planned to come into effect from 1 January 2023, following the directive (European Commission, 2022). Although the EU Parliament proposed more ambitious targets for e-kerosene, the Council of Europe support the Commissions proposed targets, as shown in Figure 1, and subject to the Trialogue negotiations. These negotiations will also align on the feedstocks allowed for biojet and for e-kerosene. The ReFuelEU regulation is considered an important regulatory stimulus for the ongoing development and commercial scale- up of technologies to produce sustainable aviation fuels. Scandinavian countries have set autonomous targets, mandating a minimum volume of SAF of 5% by 2025 and 30% by 2030 in their aviation fuel supply.

Biojet E-kerosene




0% e-kero




2% biojet



5% 0.70%







European aviation kerosene demand in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Commission’s impact assessment for the RefuelEU regulation shows jet fuel demand for the EU-27 growing from 38 million tonnes (Mt) in 2010 (EU-27) to 50 Mt by 2050 in the base case scenarios (European Commission, 2021). This compares with 2019 actual demand in the EU-27 at 46 Mt (39.5 Mt international, 6.5 Mt domestic) (Eurostat, 2022a), (Eurostat, 2022b). Including UK demand at 12 Mt and Norway at 0.9 Mt results in a total European jet fuel demand of 59 Mt in 2019 (see Figure 2 ). Impact of Covid-19 on aviation fuel demand in 2020-21 The dramatic curtailment in air travel during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a 55% fall in demand for aviation fuel in the EU-27 in 2020 (see Figure 2). In turn, the lower demand resulted in a zero to negative jet-fuel margin for most of 2020 into 2021. The International Air Figure 1 Minimum shares for biojet and e-kerosene in aviation blends under ReFuelEU


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