French President Emmanuel Macron has announced France would be investing €300M (US$328M)/year from 2024-30 to finance research and innovation to decarbonise the aviation sector, through the development of clean fuels and new aircraft and engines, S&P Global reported.

In a speech made on 16 June during a visit to a Safran aircraft engines factory in Villaroche near Paris, the French president said the country had secured total sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production capacity of 500,000 tonnes/year by 2030.

To date, SAF was currently produced in France at TotalEnergies’ La Mède bio-refinery near Marseille and from next year would also be produced at the company’s Grandpuits site which was currently being converted into a biorefinery, S&P Global wrote on the same day of Macron’s speech.

In his speech – broadcast by France Info radio – Macron said that a third bio-refinery would be built in Pardies, in the industrial Lacq area in the southwest of France, as part of a series of investments to decarbonise aviation, the report said.

The third French bio-refinery would be built by French-based start-up company Elyse Energy with partners Avril, Axens, Bionext and IFP Investissements, S&P Global wrote.

The plant will have a total capacity of 110,000 tonnes/year of biofuels including 75,000 tonnes/year of SAF and 35,000 tonnes/year of bio-naphtha, according to the report.

“By 2027, the BioTJet project aims to provide air transport players with a volume of sustainable bi-okerosene equivalent to 30% of the annual consumption of an airport such as Bordeaux Mérignac, as well as derivative products for the road and maritime sectors, but also for industry,” Elyse Energy said on its website.

The BioTJet project uses the BioTfueL process, which produces advanced bio-kerosene from biomass comprising mainly residues from local forestry and end-of-life wood waste. It combines production from biomass with low-carbon hydrogen injection to optimise the biomass-to-fuel yield.

According to European Union (EU) regulatory announcements as part of the “Fit-for-55” and ReFuelEU aviation packages, airlines taking off from EU airports from 2025 will have to use at least 2% of SAF; 6% from 2030; 20% from 2035; and 70% from 2050.

The maximum amount of SAF that can currently be blended with traditional jet fuel is 50%.

To date, only three countries in the world have a blending mandate for SAF, 1% in France, and similar amounts in Sweden and Norway, according to the report.

SAF production in Europe totalled 514,000 tonnes last year and is expected to reach 766,000 tonnes this year, according to estimates by S&P Global Commodity Insights analysts.

Looking ahead at the next five years, SAF production was forecast to reach 2.8M tonnes by 2028, the report said.