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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

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Testing for 100% SAF Compatibility

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SAF is required

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SAF Fact Sheet

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ATAG Beginner’s Guide to SAF

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Explore global SAF capacity with the SAF Dashboard.


What is SAF?

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) describes a replacement for conventional or fossil-based fuel used to power aircraft that has similar properties to conventional jet fuel (such as Jet A). This non-conventional fuel is derived from sustainable sources or feedstocks and produces less carbon emissions when in flight.

Sustainable aviation fuel

Why is SAF important?

With the potential to lower carbon emissions up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle, sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF offers the largest potential to reduce those emissions over the next 30 years.

Is SAF in use today?

Today, sustainable aviation fuels are mixed directly with conventional jet fuel up to a 50/50 blend — the maximum allowed under current fuel specifications.

What is SAF made from?

A wide variety of sustainable sources — or feedstocks — can be used to make sustainable aviation fuel: non-edible plant oils, purpose-grown crops such as sugarcane, agricultural waste, forestry trimmings, non-recyclable household waste, industrial off-gassing and others.

These feedstocks are processed into sustainable aviation fuel using a range of technologies, some of which are still in development. Boeing and our partners work together to identify feedstocks that are appropriate for regional climates and supply chain needs, and meet sustainability and other criteria.

Where Does SAF Come From?

A variety of feedstock sources give power to SAF

Oils and fats

Food by products


Nonedible sugars, grains and seeds


Agricultural and forestry


Solid and industrial

Waste gases

Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide


Solar, wind, hydro and nuclear

How is SAF produced?

Seven types of sustainable aviation fuels using different processing methods — or pathways — have been approved for commercial use:



Made from forestry trimmings, grasses, municipal solid waste. Approved in 2009 for up to a 50% blend. This fuel has not yet been commercially produced from sustainable feedstocks.


Hydro-processed fatty acid esters and free fatty acids

Made from plant oils and waste agriculture greases from agriculture. Approved in 2011 for up to a 50% blend. The vast majority of biofuel flights have used this type of fuel.


Farnesane (also known as synthesized iso-paraffins (SIP))

Made from sugarcane. Approved in 2014 for up to a 10% blend. It has been used by several airlines.


Fischer-Tropsch synthetic paraffinic kerosene with aromatics

Similar to the original Fischer-Tropsch fuel. It can be produced from a wide range of feedstocks, but includes a class of molecules called aromatics. Approved in 2015 for up to a 50% blend.



Sustainable feedstocks can be fermented to produce alcohols such as iso-butanol, which can then be chemically converted to jet fuel. Approved in 2016 for up to a 30% blend, but ASTM revised its alcohol-to-jet specification in 2018, allowing ethanol to be used as a feedstock and increasing the blending ratio for both varieties to 50%. Ethanol can be produced from industrial off-gases, municipal solid waste and biomass wastes — significantly increasing the availability of an economical and sustainable fuel feedstock.


Catalytic hydrothermolysis jet fuel

Essentially the same feedstocks as HEFA — plant oils and waste agriculture greases. Approved in 2020 for up to a 50% blend.



Variation to HEFA production that creates a synthesized paraffinic kerosene from hydrocarbon-hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids. Approved in 2020 for up to a 10% blend.

Refilling an airplane with SAF.

Is there innovation needed around SAF production?

There is an increasing spectrum for innovation occurring in “drop-in” (meaning aircraft and airport compatible) qualified pathways that can make existing SAF pathways cleaner over time and potentially even make power to liquid (PtL) or synthetic fuels viable in the longer term.

There are several SAF technologies in development, including: waste- and biomass-based SAF, power-and-biomass-to-liquid (PBtL), and power-to-liquid (PtL).

Power to liquid fuels are a subset of sustainable aviation fuels that use hydrogen produced through carbon-free sources and CO2 captured from waste streams or the atmosphere as feedstock to produce synthetic hydrocarbon fuels.

  • The CO2 and H2 production processes require a large input of electricity. These processes are common not only to PtL and PBtL production pathways, but also to areas of interest for carbon capture sequestration and H2 as a fuel for aviation.
  • Significant investments in renewable energy will be required in order to produce the amount of renewable electric energy required to scale PtL fuels.

What is book and claim?

To avoid the emissions related to shipping or trucking SAF to airports, SAF is typically transported to its nearest fuel farm. To allow airlines to utilize SAF even when the fuel isn’t available at the airport where a particular plane requires fuel, the book and claim process was developed.

The book and claim process allows a company to purchase SAF, enter it into a nearby fueling system and, in return, claim the emissions reduction benefits no matter where the purchaser is located.

What is needed to scale SAF?

The aviation industry will need a many-fold increase in the amount of SAF if it is to meet the civil aviation’s commitment to net zero by 2050. In simple terms, we have an industry to build. Building a commercial SAF market will require a concerted, symbiotic effort from aviation, finance, energy and policy.

Keys to accelerating sustainable aviation fuel supply growth

Supportive government policies

Feedstock diversity and robust sustainability criteria

R&D to enable cost competitiveness and supply growth

Access to capital for new production

Market-based incentives to make SAF price competitive

100% SAF Compatibility

  • Two years ago, Boeing committed that all its commercial airplanes will be 100% SAF capable by 2030.
  • Since the systems and materials on our airplanes were designed for conventional jet fuel, we need to make sure our systems are compatible as we move to cleaner fuels.
  • This includes testing anything fuels come into contact with on the airplane — primers, sealants, finishes, metals, composites and O-rings, for example.
  • Read about our latest testing milestone on enabling 100% SAF compatibility here.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Boeing has been a pioneer in making sustainable aviation fuels a reality, partnering globally with airlines, industry, governments and research institutions to enable use, expand limited supplies and reduce fuel costs.