Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are defined as renewable or waste-derived aviation fuels that meets sustainability criteria1. Technical analysis done at ICAO shows that SAF has the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions from International Aviation.


ICAO is working to facilitate SAF development and deployment through four main streams:

1) Globally-accepted environmental Standards for SAF

CORSIA includes methodologies that allow aircraft operators to reduce its offsetting requirements through the use of SAF and Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels (LCAF). These include globally-accepted sustainability criteria and life cycle methodologies

Specific details on how SAF is considered under CORSIA are provided in the ICAO Environmental Report 2019, Chapter 6 - An Overview of CORSIA Eligible Fuels (CEF). Related documents are provided in the CORSIA eligible fuels website.

information on fuel batches and economic operators that are certified under CORSIA is provided on the CORSIA certified fuels website.

Sustainability criteria 
Life cycle methodologies

2) SAF policies and goals

​Long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG)

The 41st ICAO Assembly adopted a long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) for international aviation of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in support of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement's temperature goal. This historic agreement reinforces the leadership of ICAO on issues relating to international aviation and climate change. The adopted Resolution A41-21 is available here

The LTAG report shows that SAF has the greatest potential to reduce CO2 emissions from International Aviation. 

The LTAG and fuels website details the fuels-related information contained in the LTAG analysis. 
Figure 1 IS3.svg

CAAF/3 will review the 2050 ICAO Vision for SAF, including LCAF and other cleaner energy sources for aviation, in order to define an ICAO global framework in line with the No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative and taking into account national circumstances and capabilities.

This guidance summarizes potential policies and coordinated approaches for the deployment of SAF, completing a toolbox of guidance material for use by ICAO Member States together with the ICAO SAF Rules of Thumb.

SAF rules of thumb - what does it take to produce SAF?

The "SAF Rules of Thumb" can be utilized to support policy development. They provide order of magnitude estimations related to SAF costs, investment needs and production potential. These "SAF rules of thumb" complete a toolbox of guidance material for use by ICAO Member States together with the "Guidance on potential policies and coordinated approaches for the deployment of SAF"

2050 ICAO VISIONthe Second ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/2) was held in October 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. It endorsed the 2050 ICAO Vision for Sustainable Aviation Fuels, which calls on States, industry and other stakeholders for a significant proportion of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use by 2050. The 2050 ICAO Vision will be updated at the CAAF/3, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as an in-person event from 21 to 24 November 2023

SAF Trends and Short-term Projections - The possible contribution of SAF to the ICAO environmental goals is also being assessed by CAEP as part of the ICAO Global Environmental Trends and SAF short-term projections.

3) Capacity Building and Assistance to ICAO Member States

ACT-SAF - ICAO Assistance, Capacity-building and Training for Sustainable Aviation Fuels

The ICAO ACT-SAF Programme was launched in 2022 and is providing pportunities for States to develop their full potential in SAF development and deployment, in line with the ICAO’s No Country Left Behind initiative, the 2050 ICAO Vision for SAF, and the three main pillars of sustainable development recognized by the United Nations. 

SAF Feasibility Studies - Four SAF feasibility studies were developed as part of the ICAO-EU assistance project "Capacity building for CO2 mitigation from international aviation". These can be accessed as follows:
4) Outreach of information and best practices
ICAO is periodically reviewing the progress on SAF development and deployment through a Stocktaking Process, including the organization of regular seminars. Information gathered on the Stocktaking is included in the "SAF tracking tools" being maintained as part of the ICAO Global Framework for Aviation and Alternative Fuels (GFAAF .

As part of the ICAO-UNDP-GEF assistance project "Transforming the Global Aviation Sector: Emissions Reductions from International Aviation", a "Sustainable Aviation Fuels Guide" was developed to inform ICAO Member States on how sustainable aviation fuels can be deployed to reduce CO2 emissions from international aviation activities. The guide describes fuel production pathways, usage constraints, environmental and other benefits, and policy perspectives on the use and development of SAF.

                                          ​ICAO GFAAF 
The ICAO Global Framework for Aviation and Alternative Fuels (GFAAF) is the online database for sharing information related to sustainable aviation fuels. It contains links to hundreds news articles dating back to 2005, details of past and ongoing initiatives, facts and figures, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to additional resources. It also includes a live feed of flights using sustainable aviation fuels.

SAF technical references​

Several other references on SAF are being compiled by ICAO and provided to the general public. More information can be found in the "other resouces" webpage.

1 - Annex 16 - Environmental Protection, Volume IV, Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).

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