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Collaborative Research Network for Global SAF Supply Chain Development

Project Number: 093
Category: Alternative Fuels

Large-scale, global production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) is required for aviation to decarbonize by 2050. In this project, the experience gained from developing domestic supply chains to enable SAF production and associated analytical tools will be leveraged and adapted to understand the potential environmental and economic benefits that could result from the development of global supply chains while also working to understand the barriers to their development. The overall effort focuses on three distinct geographical areas with different characteristics – Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and Southeast Asia. The activities will be spread across a three-university team with additional support from the DOT Volpe Transportation Center, and in collaboration with the World Bank.

The Washington State University will focus on SAF supply chain development in four LAC countries: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. A literature review on biomass and SAF related publications for each of these countries will be conducted to identify existing information and the centers of excellence on biomass utilization in each of these countries. This literature review and existing Washington State University collaborators in each of the targeted countries will be used as the main two sources of information to form working groups in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Costa Rica that will act as international partners for this project. Design and analysis of SAF supply chains in each of the three LAC countries will be undertaken to address the following topics: (1) life cycle analysis value for the feedstock and sustainability criteria compliance, (2) public policies that should be developed to increase the production of SAF, and (3) sitting of facilities.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology task includes efforts to (1) develop a detailed assessment of biomass availability for producing bio-based transportation fuels in different regions of the world taking into consideration current and future land and sustainability practices and analyzing competing demands for land from agriculture and other uses, and (2) investigate the current hurdles for the development of a local SAF industry in Kenya and South Africa in order to develop a sound science-driven assessment to help overcome these hurdles, and to help kick-start the sustainable aviation fuels industry in Kenya and South Africa.

The University of Hawaii will engage universities (and other entities) in Southeast Asian countries (specifically, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, and Brunei) and develop collaborative research programs focused on sustainable aviation fuel supply chains to identify information shortfalls and generate fundamental data necessary for the design of SAF production systems. Research activities will include supporting analysis related to assessment of greenhouse gas emissions, stakeholder engagement, feedstock supply chain development, and infrastructure needs.


This project will identify waste and biomass feedstock availability, analyze new pathways to optimize SAF production, and assess infrastructure needs and logistical requirements for a holistic approach to SAF supply chain development. A focus will be on identifying existing industries and infrastructure that could be leveraged for SAF production thus ensuring rapid development. An updated bottoms-up assessment of global SAF feedstock potential and key barriers to achieve this potential will also be undertaken.  Student training and capacity building is another key feature of this project. A network of PhD students will be developed who work with universities in the regions of interest to extend supply chain analysis techniques and tools from the ASCENT COE and Volpe Center to different world regions. Workshops and student exchanges and internships will also be pursued with international partners.

Program Managers