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Synthetic/Sustainable Aviation Fuel Mapping


Scottish Enterprise appointed Optimat to undertake an independent assessment to understand the capability/interest of industry and research organisations in Scotland to support the adoption of synthetic/sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which is seen by many as the first step towards decarbonising Scotland’s aviation sector. Specific objectives of this assessment were to: define the global and Scottish market opportunities for SAF; identify Scottish capabilities (company/academic base, their strengths and appetite to engage in zero-emission aviation); identify ways to engage the industry base; provide recommendations on how Scottish Enterprise and the public sector can maximise Scottish content in the just transition to net zero emissions aviation via SAF.


Optimat conducted desk research, structured interviews with key stakeholders (including industry) and report preparation (September 2022-March 2023). They assessed current Scottish activities that support the realisation of SAF and identified a list of Scottish companies with current or potential SAF-related capability.


Major economies across the globe are actively pursuing SAF to decarbonise their aviation sectors and secure economic returns although no nation has, so far, fully captured this opportunity. Scotland has a solid foundation on which to build a SAF supply chain; a strong and engaged aviation sector, existing infrastructure, oil and gas expertise, and highly relevant research and technology development capabilities. There is also evident demand for SAF from domestic users and potential for export. This is actively supported by the Enterprise Agencies through engagement with domestic and international stakeholders. The Scottish Government strategy for Net Zero, including plans for green electricity, green hydrogen and CCUS have been identified as exemplars by those stakeholders engaged in this study. For Scotland to capitalise on its strong foundations it will need a concerted effort from both the public and private sectors, particularly around the significant investments that will be required to realise a SAF supply chain.


To be explored in further dialogue and discussion with industry: These include laying the foundations and building the network needed for SAF supply chain development in Scotland; elaborating scenarios for supply chain development with agreement on measurable outcomes; demonstrate SAF production/utility in a Scottish context e.g. modular plants and SAF-fuelled flights; position Scotland as a global hub for SAF-related research and technology development.

Author Optimat
Published Year 2023
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Equity
    Sustainable development