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Global production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is forecast to triple to 1.875bn litres in 2024, according to latest estimates by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

SAF volumes reached over 600M litres in 2023, double the amount produced the previous year, the 6 December report said.

SAF accounted for 3% of all renewable fuels produced last year, with 97% of renewable fuel production going to other sectors.

In 2024, SAF production is expected to triple to 1.875bn litres, accounting for 0.53% of aviation’s fuel needs, and 6% of renewable fuel capacity.

The small percentage of SAF output as a proportion of overall renewable fuel is primarily due to new capacity coming online in 2023 being allocated to other renewable fuels, according to the report.

“The doubling of SAF production in 2023 was encouraging as is the expected tripling of production expected in 2024. But even with that impressive growth, SAF as a portion of all renewable fuel production will only grow from 3% this year to 6% in 2024,” IATA director general Willie Walsh said.

“This allocation limits SAF supply and keeps prices high. Aviation needs between 25% and 30% of renewable fuel production capacity for SAF. At those levels, aviation will be on the trajectory needed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Until such levels are reached, we will continue missing huge opportunities to advance aviation’s decarbonisation.”

Governments should prioritise policies to incentivise the scaling-up of SAF production and diversify feedstocks to include those available locally, Walsh added.