The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge is the result of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal government agencies working together to develop a comprehensive strategy for scaling up new technologies to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) on a commercial scale.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge

An airplane flying, with a trailer of biofuel in the foreground.

A commercial jet with biofuel tank. Photo courtesy of istock.com.

The SAF Grand Challenge is the result of DOE, DOT, and USDA launching a government-wide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will attempt to reduce the cost, enhance the sustainability, and expand the production and use of SAF while:

  • Achieving a minimum of a 50% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel.
  • Meeting a goal of supplying sufficient SAF to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand by 2050.

The SAF Grand Challenge and the increased production of SAF will play a critical role in a broader set of actions by the United States government and the private sector to reduce the aviation sector’s emissions in a manner consistent with the goal of net-zero emissions for the U.S. economy, and to put the aviation sector on a pathway to full decarbonization by 2050.

In recognition of the critical role that drop-in synthesized hydrocarbon fuel from waste streams, renewable energy sources, or gaseous carbon oxides—or SAF—will play in addressing the climate change crisis, and its role for jobs and the economy, DOE, DOT, and USDA undertake the MOU to ensure the highest level of collaboration and coordination across the agencies.

Through the MOU, DOE, DOT, and USDA intend to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment needed for an ambitious government-wide commitment to scale up the production of SAF to 35 billion gallons per year by 2050. A near-term goal of 3 billion gallons per year is established as a milestone for 2030.

Media Resources for SAF