China Launches First Technical Centre for Sustainable Aviation Fuel in Chengdu

The Civil Aviation Authority of (CAAC) has inaugurated the country's inaugural technical centre dedicated to (SAF) in Chengdu, according to a report released by the aviation regulator's news channel late on Tuesday.

The new centre, situated in the southwestern city of Chengdu, will play a pivotal role in establishing industry policies, setting standards for SAF products, and overseeing quality control, as confirmed by two SAF industry executives familiar with the launch.

China, the world's second-largest aviation market, consumes approximately 11% of global jet fuel. The country is poised to unveil a 2030 policy on SAF usage later this year, which could catalyze significant investments amounting to billions of dollars, as reported by Reuters in May.

Despite limited test flights, commercial production of SAF for domestic consumption is currently absent in China. However, biofuel companies are investing over $1 billion to construct the nation's first plants capable of converting waste cooking oil into aviation fuel for export, aiming to meet domestic demand once Beijing mandates SAF usage to mitigate emissions.

CAAC's initiative also includes plans to establish a Chinese certification system specifically for sustainable aviation fuel. The newly established centre is already setting up testing facilities for new products, according to the regulator's news site. By 2030, China's annual aviation fuel consumption is expected to exceed 50 million metric tons, with SAF usage potentially reaching 2.5 million tons annually.

SAF, derived from sustainably sourced renewable waste and residues such as used cooking oil and animal fats, or produced from renewable power-based , offers a promising avenue for reducing aviation emissions.

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