As part of work on SAF projections, CAEP experts from Washington State University, supported by experts from Hasselt University developed a set of heuristics or "Rules of Thumb" for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) that could be utilized to make order of magnitude estimations related to SAF costs, investment needs and production potential that could inform policymakers and project developers.
All of the information was calculated using U.S. costs and financial assumptions. The values will change based on regional variables. No incentives were included in the MSP values calculated. Contact ICAO to provide information that could be used to update the Rules of Thumb.
Four SAF manufacturing technologies were assessed: Gasification Fischer-Tropsch (GFT), alcohol to jet (ATJ), hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), and pyrolysis. For each of the technologies, multiple feedstocks and two levels of technology maturity were assessed: nth plant and pioneer plant.
The Rules of Thumb provide the impact of feedstock cost, fuel yield, facility scale (total distillate and SAF), total capital investment (TCI) and minimum selling price (MSP) for nth plant and pioneer facility scales.
These SAF "Rules of Thumb" are intended to provide big picture trends for costs and processing technology/feedstock comparisons and could be utilized to make order of magnitude estimations. They do not provide precise cost or price information. As such, investment or policy decisions should be based on a dedicated analysis that captures specific details related to the investment or policy.
All of the information was calculated using U.S. costs and financial assumptions. The values will change based on regional variables. No incentives were included in the MSP values calculated.
The summary tables 1 an 2 below provide the most likely costs and facility scales based on the Techno Economic Assessment (TEA) models, existing literature values and expert opinion. Summary Table 3 provides estimates on CO2 abatement costs, obtained with the use of MSP information and the life cycle emission reductions associated with each fuel.
All of the TEA models are based on open-source information; costs that use proprietary technology may differ significantly.
Summary Table 1 - Feedstock Information
Technology, feedstock type and price, yield, total annual distillate scale, annual SAF production for both nth and pioneer facilities.
CO2 from Direct Air Capture (DAC) , H2
*feedstock price is for pre-processed feedstock
**pyrolysis ASTM approval is pending.
***2013-2019 average price of soybean and canola oils,
Summary Table 2 - SAF facilities information
Total capital investment (TCI), capital cost, and minimum selling price (MSP) for nth and pioneer facilities for each pathway.
*feedstock price is for pre-processed feedstock,
**alcohol feedstock is corn-based,
***pyrolysis ASTM approval is pending.
Summary Table 3 - CO2 abatement costs
CO2 Abatement costs for nth and pioneer facilities for each pathway (compared with the CORSIA baseline of 89 gCO2e/MJ).
no CO2 abatement
* based on default life cycle emissions provided in the ICAO document "CORSIA Default Life Cycle Emissions Values for CORSIA Eligible Fuels".
** Includes ILUC values, which can be subtracted with the use of low LUC risk practices as defined in the ICAO document "CORSIA Methodology for Calculating Actual Life Cycle Emissions Values".
*** life cycle emissions obtained from external references; not CORSIA.
****pyrolysis ASTM approval is pending.
The following charts provide a graphical representation of these numbers.