Sustainable Aviation Fuels

The urgent need to lower greenhouse gas emissions has been recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the aviation industry. ICAO Member States have set ambitious targets to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from air transportation, including a collective long-term global aspirational goal (LTAG) of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To combat rising emissions, the aviation industry is investing in alternative fuel concepts. Compared to conventional fossil fuels, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) have the potential to cut emissions substantially.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels Covered Under ISCC Certification

  • Biofuels (liquid fuels for the transport sector produced from bio-based feedstocks)
  • Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBO)
  • Recycled Carbon Fuels

Applicable ISCC Certification Schemes

Video: How Does ISCC Certification for SAF Work?

What are Sustainable Aviation Fuels? 

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) are non–conventional (non-fossil-derived) aviation fuels. While SAF is the term connoted by IATA to describe this type of fuel, other terms such as sustainable alternative fuel, sustainable alternative jet fuel, renewable jet fuel, or biojet fuel can oftentimes be used to mean the same thing. The chemical and physical characteristics of SAF are almost identical to those of conventional jet fuel and they can be safely mixed with the latter to varying degrees, use the same supply infrastructure, and do not require the adaptation of aircraft or engines. Fuels with these properties are called “drop-in fuels” (i.e., fuels that can be automatically incorporated into existing airport fueling systems).  For aviation fuels to be deemed as ‘sustainable’ they must meet certain sustainability criteria, including for instance a reduction in life cycle carbon emissions and ensuring that feedstocks used for SAF production are not obtained from high carbon stock lands. 

Benefits of Sustainable Aviation Fuels

  • The use of sustainable aviation fuels can reduce life cycle emissions by up to 80% compared to conventional fossil fuels 
  • SAF enable a more diverse geographic supply and degree of energy security 
  • No modification of transport systems or airport fueling systems is necessary, as SAF are generally “drop-in fuels” 

Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels

Beyond sustainable aviation fuels, the concept of “Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels” (LCAF) is based on prospective technologies that may allow the production of fossil fuels with a lower carbon footprint, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage and the use of renewable energy in oil refineries. In all cases, it is important to verify compliance with voluntary or mandatory sustainability criteria, like that set out in the ISCC EU, PLUS and CORSIA standards.

Benefits of Working With ISCC

As a well-experienced sustainability certification scheme, ISCC is in the position to guarantee compliance and enhance traceability through site-specific audits. ISCC’s vast experience in road transportation is of high value when it comes to certifying sustainable aviation fuels. Since large volumes of certified feedstock are already available and many major fuel producers are ISCC members, SAF certification with ISCC is feasible and practical.

ISCC’s Recognitions

ISCC proves compliance with legal requirements for biofuels / bioliquids in the European Union and other important energy markets.

ISCC Events on Sustainable Aviation Fuels

ISCC Technical Stakeholder Meeting

ISCC holds a yearly Technical Stakeholder Meeting on SAF. Each meeting speakers from ISCC and from various companies across the value chain give presentations on the latest SAF developments.

12 September 2024


Multiple times a year ISCC holds a training on the ISCC CORSIA certification system. The training provides detailed insights on the legal framework of CORSIA, SAF certification processes and sustainability requirements.

18 – 26 September 2024