RSB, Agroicone publish study to support sustainable transformation in Brazil with SAF

RSB worked with Agroicone to map the availability and potential of bio-based residues for the production of SAF in Brazil in order to support decision-making processes

The aviation sector has ambitious targets for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and switching from fossil fuels to low-carbon Sustainable Aviation Fuels. SAF is considered the most efficient way to achieve those targets quickly, however, in Brazil, the availability, location and potential emissions reductions, as well as overall sustainability, of the feedstocks required to make this shift is not well understood.

Addressing this challenge, RSB, in collaboration with Agroicone and colleagues from the University of Campinas, has published the outcomes of research into non-crop feedstock availability and potential in Brazil for the production of SAF. This work is supported by Boeing’s Global Engagement Portfolio, as part of the Fuelling the Sustainable Bioeconomy (FTSB) project.

RSB worked with Agroicone to map the availability and potential of bio-based residues for the production of SAF in Brazil in order to support decision-making processes — whether in industry or in the political sphere — towards shaping the SAF market in the country.

With approximately 7 billion litres of jet fuel is consumed every year in Brazil, contributing to annual CO2 emissions of approximately 18 million tonnes, a swift transition to alternative fuels is urgently required for Brazil to fulfil its global commitments to ICAO’s global carbon offset program known as CORSIA and to ensure overall progress in the fight against the global climate crisis.

Building technical understanding of the local availability and feasibility of feedstocks to support the transition to SAF in Brazil is key to drive policy, investment and support demand in the local aviation market. The SAF industry faces economic and environmental concerns, including its economic feasibility when compared to fossil fuels and the impacts of land use change — which may result in significant GHG emissions. SAF obtained from residues may circumvent such challenges, since their cost and environmental impacts at the collection point could be close to zero.

RSB worked with Agroicone to examine the availability of residues and strategic locations for SAF production and consumption in Brazil. Five residual feedstocks were combined in seven different pathways (Fischer-Tropsch, Alcohol-to-Jet, HEFA) for SAF production. All pathways were for ASTM-approved drop-in fuels to be used with fossil kerosene (Jet A) in a maximum 50% blend volume basis.

Feedstocks considered:

  • Sugarcane residues (straw and bagasse)
  • Eucalyptus plantation residues
  • Flue gasses
  • Beef tallow
  • Used cooking oil

The study – which looked in detail at regional demand, feedstock supply and technical capacity – determined huge potential to be found in sugarcane bagasse and wood residues, particularly in the southeastern part of the country. The main findings suggest the potential for SAF production from the mapped residues in Brazil is up to 9.0 billion litters, which is around 125% of the current fossil kerosene (Jet A) consumption in Brazil.

SAF Production Potential in Brazil – non-crop feedstocks

SAF Production Potential in Brazil – non-crop feedstocks

Explore the study to learn more about the different pathways and their potential for transforming the aviation sector in Brazil.

About the study

This study was developed as part of the Fuelling the Sustainable Bioeconomy (FTSB) project, powered by Boeing’s Global Engagement Portfolio and led by RSB. By providing guidance on the sustainability of alternative fuels, bringing together relevant stakeholders, and integrating the bioeconomy as a critical part of the just energy transition, Fuelling the Sustainable Bioeconomy will help to direct investment, policy, market development and further research in supporting the emergence of a truly sustainable bioeconomy. As this project progresses, further results will be published, including information on greenhouse gas emissions and techno-economic assessments of different SAF production pathways. For additional information about the FTSB project and RSB’s work to support the aviation sector, explore our aviation pages or contact our team directly.

Source: Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), press release, 2021-05-19.