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Although sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is often referred to in the same manner as Jet A — that is, as a distinct fuel type with clearly defined specifications — there are actually many types of SAF. They vary widely in their feedstocks, methods of production, chemical compositions and life cycle carbon emissions. What makes it to the market as “SAF” today is a blend consisting of conventional jet fuel, plus up to 50% of an approved synthesized blending component.

Related: Understanding the path to 100% SAF

In the first of a two-part series, The Air Current explains how SAF is approved for use in aircraft and assessed for sustainability. We also explain the differences between certain types of SAF, including biofuels and e-fuels. This overview sets the stage for our upcoming deep dive on what it will take to transition to use of 100% SAF as a tool for achieving aviation’s net-zero goals.

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As Senior Editor, Elan spearheads The Air Current’s coverage of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, along with a focus on emerging sustainable technologies. A commercially-rated helicopter pilot and FAA Gold Seal flight instructor, Head brings a unique vantage point to explore this critical new sector.

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