Ricardo to lead creation of EU SAF Clearing House

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has chosen Ricardo to lead a consortium creating Europe’s first Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Clearing House.

SAFs are a drop-in alternative to conventional petroleum-derived hydrocarbons
SAFs are a drop-in alternative to conventional petroleum-derived hydrocarbons - AdobeStock

Working alongside Trinity College Dublin, Intertek, Politecnico di Torino, ENVISA, and Spark Legal and Policy Consulting, Ricardo will establish a network of European and international testing facilities and guide fuel producers in assessing the environmental impacts of their products and in meeting eligibility criteria. The EU SAF Clearing House has already received its first sustainable aviation fuel and is currently testing it.

SAFs are a drop-in alternative to conventional petroleum-derived hydrocarbons and have a smaller carbon footprint. As such, they are viewed as the most viable route in the short-to-medium-term to reduce aviation’s CO2 emissions and meet regulatory targets. 

Adopted in 2023, the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation mandates a target of a two per cent SAF production in European aviation by 2025, rising to six per cent by 2030, and a further increase of up to 70 per cent by 2050.

SAF currently represent less than 0.05 per cent of total EU aviation fuel use. Furthermore, the supply chain has found scaling volumes to the required commercial levels to be a significant challenge, with new products required to meet strict specifications and follow rigorous testing before they can be used in commercial aircraft.

The EU SAF Clearing House will support the approval of new SAF pathways using the ASTM D4054 process, a virtual forum for advice on data quality, testing facilities and qualification. According to Ricardo, this will reduce the high cost and complexity of certification and is seen as key to unlocking higher volumes and encouraging a variety of feedstocks.

The EU SAF Clearing House will also provide sustainability services for prospective fuel producers and focus on nurturing a mature SAF supply chain in Europe, participating at technical events, advising on research and innovation, and promoting policy coherence.

Dr Rui Neiva, principal consultant, Sustainable Transport at Ricardo and programme manager for the EU SAF Clearing House, said: “We have extensive experience of bringing together networks of technical organisations in sectors such as automotive, aerospace and urban transit to collaborate on specific industry challenges. We will be bringing the same organisational expertise to this project.”

Now open to applications, the EU SAF Clearing House is calling for any stakeholders, primarily fuel producers, to make contact via https://www.eusafclearinghouse.eu/ for queries in relation to the development, sustainability, testing and qualification of sustainable aviation fuels.