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Boosting Middle East’s ‘Clean Flying’ dream further, ENOC signs SAF deal with Neste

The MoU comes after Neste and ENOC supported Emirates' 100% SAF demonstration flights onboard their Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in 2023

Dubai-based energy company ENOC Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Finnish Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) producer Neste to explore the supply and purchase of the energy product in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

ENOC said the agreement is the first milestone in its plan to supply blended SAF to all customers by 2030, contributing to a reduction of carbon emissions by 80% compared to traditional aviation fuel.

By leveraging the expertise of Neste as the world’s leading producer of SAF and ENOC’s position as the leading jet fuel supplier in the MENA region, the stakeholders will play a key role in accelerating the shift of the MENA region’s aviation sector towards lower-emission fuels, to support the vision of environment-friendly flying by 2050.

The MoU comes after Neste and ENOC supported Emirates’ 100% SAF demonstration flights onboard their Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in 2023.

The MoU also comes at a time when the global SAF market is poised to grow from USD 1.1 billion in 2023 to USD 16.8 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 47.7% from 2023 to 2030, if a report by MarketsandMarkets has to be believed.

“The sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) market is witnessing substantial growth, driven by key factors. The growing awareness of climate change and the imperative to reduce carbon emissions in the aviation industry serve as primary catalysts, compelling airlines to embrace SAF as a cleaner alternative to conventional jet fuels,” the report, published in November 2023, remarked.

“Market expansion is further propelled by regulatory initiatives and mandates from entities such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and various governments. Increasing investments in research and development, aimed at improving SAF production efficiency, along with advancements in feedstock technologies, contribute significantly to the sector’s upward trajectory. Collaborations among airlines, manufacturers, and biofuel producers play a crucial role in scaling up SAF production, fostering a more sustainable future for air travel,” it added further.

The report also found the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) segment likely experiencing a higher Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the SAF market due to the increasing adoption of drones for various applications.

“As UAVs become more integral to sectors like agriculture, surveillance, and logistics, there is a growing emphasis on making these operations environmentally sustainable. The use of SAF in UAVs aligns with global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, making it a preferred choice. Additionally, the UAV segment benefits from a comparatively faster adaptation to new technologies and regulations, contributing to its accelerated growth in the SAF market,” the study observed.

The study by the noted American management consulting firm also identified the Middle East as the global zone achieving a higher CAGR in the SAF market due to the region’s strategic focus on sustainable development, substantial investments in renewable energy, and a growing commitment to reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector.

“The abundance of sunlight makes the Middle East conducive to advanced biofuel production from feedstocks like algae and halophytes. Additionally, the region’s strong financial capabilities and governmental support foster innovation and infrastructure development for SAF production, positioning the Middle East as a key player in driving the sustainable transformation of the aviation industry,” the report commented.

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