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What is SAF and How to Set up SAF Plant in India



India is leading the world to shift from natural to renewable energy sources. The efforts of the Indian Government and industry leaders have resulted in tangible achievements. Recently, a flight was tested using SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) between Pune and Delhi. The testing was successful, and now the government of India aims to increase the blending of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in passenger and commercial flights. This will help reduce carbon emissions in the aviation sector and facilitate a smooth transition from non-renewable resources to renewable energy sources. A timeline is prepared to achieve the net zero carbon emission target by 2070 by increasing the SAF production plants and blending strategically in various stages to support sustainable and environmental security.

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What is SAF?

SAF stands for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. It is produced by agricultural waste, solid waste and other forestry residues. These bio-waste materials are used in the SAF production facility as feedstock and the bio-zet fuel is produced. It is safer and more efficient than conventional jet fuel in terms of carbon emission and sustainability. The low sulfur of bio-jet fuel or SAF reduces the pollution from the environment and the use of waste material decreases the carbon footprint in comparison to the conventional fuel manufacturing process. India is leading the aviation sector globally to shift from conventional fuel sources to SAF.

Why is the SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) important?

Climate change and global warming are pressing environmental challenges that result from the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere. The aviation sector plays a substantial role in contributing to these issues. Aircraft emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants during their operations, releasing them directly into the upper atmosphere where their impact on the greenhouse effect is more potent. The combustion of aviation fuels, particularly jet fuel, releases not only carbon dioxide but also water vapour, contrails, and black carbon, further intensifying the sector's climate impact. The aviation industry's continuous growth, along with the lack of viable low-carbon alternatives for long-haul flights, poses a considerable challenge in mitigating its environmental footprint. Efforts made towards the shift to SAF are extremely important to deal with these global issues.

How does the use of SAF in the Aviation Sector Benefit the Environment?

The use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel or Bio-Jet Fuel brings many benefits to the aviation sector and helps the environment to sustain longer with healthy industrial practices. Some of the major benefits are as follows-

  • Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change

One of the primary advantages of sustainable aviation fuels is their potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional aviation fuels. SAFs can be derived from renewable sources, such as biofuels or synthetic fuels produced using renewable energy, resulting in lower carbon footprints. Sustainable aviation fuels have the potential to mitigate the climate impact of aviation by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, as well as other pollutants, such as sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides. This can contribute to efforts to combat global warming and improve air quality.

  • Diversification of Fuel Sources

Relying on a variety of feedstocks for sustainable aviation fuels, including biomass, algae, and waste, allows for a diversification of fuel sources. This reduces dependency on fossil fuels and enhances energy security by creating resilience and facing the fluctuation of oil prices and disruptions in the supply chain.

  • Job Creation and Economic Opportunities

The production and use of sustainable aviation fuels can stimulate economic growth by creating jobs in the renewable energy and biofuel industries. It fosters innovation and investment in sustainable practices, contributing to a more robust and resilient economy.

  • Technology Advancements & Global Collaboration

The development and adoption of sustainable aviation fuels drive technological advancements in fuel production and aircraft technology. This, in turn, encourages the aviation industry to invest in more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft. The use of sustainable aviation fuels promotes international collaboration and cooperation to address the aviation sector's environmental impact.

  • Public Perception and Corporate Responsibility

Adopting sustainable aviation fuels aligns with growing consumer and corporate preferences for environmentally responsible practices. Airlines investing in sustainability may benefit from positive public perception and enhanced corporate responsibility, potentially attracting environmentally conscious travellers and investors.

Demand and Supply of Feedstock - The Crucial Factor

The demand and supply of feedstock for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) are critical. Foreign investors offering high prices for Indian feedstock jeopardise domestic SAF production. Government policies regulating biowaste markets are needed to ensure domestic availability without harming farmers. Agricultural waste is a key feedstock, but challenges include the need for more infrastructure for SAF-appropriate materials. Despite a substantial pool of used cooking oil and animal fat, much is exported at higher prices, compromising domestic availability. However, there's optimism that existing biomass and waste can meet SAF demands, minimizing the need for fresh cultivation. Addressing these challenges requires efficient collection mechanisms and policies balancing domestic and international feedstock demand.

How to Set up the SAF Production Plant?

You need to go through the following steps to establish the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production Unit-

Business Incorporation

Begin the process by formally incorporating your sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production venture as a distinct legal entity. Choose an appropriate business structure, such as a corporation or LLC, to safeguard personal assets and navigate the legalities. Adhere to jurisdiction-specific regulations and complete the necessary paperwork to establish the business under a distinct name.

Land and Infrastructure

Identify and secure an appropriate piece of land for your SAF production plant, considering factors like proximity to feedstock sources and transportation infrastructure. Develop essential infrastructure, including manufacturing facilities and administrative offices, ensuring compliance with local regulations governing land use and environmental impact.

Technology Acquisition

Research and procure the required technology and machinery for efficient and environmentally friendly SAF production. Collaborate with reputable technology providers or manufacturers to ensure that the equipment meets industry standards and adheres to environmental regulations.

Necessary Permissions

Navigate the regulatory landscape by obtaining the necessary permits and approvals from relevant authorities overseeing SAF production. This includes environmental permits, safety certifications, and other licenses. Work closely with local authorities to ensure compliance with zoning regulations and other land-use requirements.

Develop a robust compliance plan and comprehensive risk management strategy to mitigate potential environmental, safety, and regulatory risks. Work with legal and regulatory experts to ensure the timely fulfilment of annual compliances associated with obtained permissions.

Feedstock Sourcing

Secure agreements with suppliers for the consistent and sustainable sourcing of feedstocks, such as biomass or waste oils. Ensure that sourcing aligns with environmental and ethical standards, contributing to the overall sustainability of the SAF production process.


Initiate the commissioning and operationalization of the SAF production plant once all necessary approvals are secured, and infrastructure is in place. Implement stringent quality control measures and operational protocols to guarantee the production of high-quality SAF.

Market Entry and Distribution

Develop a strategic market entry plan, considering partnerships with airlines, government incentives, and industry collaborations. Establish efficient distribution channels and logistics to deliver the produced SAF to end-users, adhering to safety and transportation regulations.

Continuous Improvement and Innovation

Commit to continuous improvement by investing in research and development for innovative and more sustainable production methods. Stay informed about industry advancements and update your plant's technology and processes accordingly to remain at the forefront of SAF production.


India's proactive approach towards transitioning from conventional to renewable energy sources, particularly in the aviation sector, marks a significant stride towards environmental sustainability. As India charts a course to increase SAF blending in passenger and commercial flights, with a targeted net zero carbon emission goal by 2070, the nation emerges as a global leader in driving positive change. The benefits of SAF are compelling, ranging from substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to the diversification of fuel sources, job creation, and economic opportunities. Furthermore, the adoption of SAF aligns with public perception and corporate responsibility, enhancing the industry's overall environmental impact. As India strides towards a sustainable aviation future, these efforts not only contribute to mitigating climate change but also position the country as a trailblazer in the global quest for greener and cleaner aviation practices.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental impact assessment is an instrument to evaluate the consequences of the establishment of a new project or expansion of projects related to industries, mining, pipelines, etc. Enjoy simple processing and no hidden fees.

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This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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Yash Chauhan is a law graduate from the University of Delhi and a skilled content writer at Corpseed. With a keen interest in the legal industry, he specializes in writing articles on contemporary legal developments, corporate compliances,...

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