Eight founding entities announced the launch of the Air-CRAFT - a UAE-based research consortium focused on developing, producing, and scaling sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) technologies.

The consortium is supported by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, and includes ADNOC, Boeing, Emirates, ENOC Group, Etihad, Honeywell, Khalifa University and Masdar, says a release from Emirates.

Air-CRAFT, or the UAE Centre for Renewable and Advanced Fuel Technologies for Aviation, is a first-of-its-kind initiative that will bring together entities across the value chain – industrial policy makers, aviation regulators, fuel producers, academia and researchers, aircraft and powerplant manufacturers, and airline operators, the release added. While based in the UAE, the consortium will also engage with, and welcome the participation of relevant international entities as it progresses. The new initiative was announced on the sidelines of the 3rd ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) and ahead of COP28.

"The aviation sector holds great importance as a key contributor to the GDP and as a target sector for our robust decarbonization drive,” says Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, UAE. “The UAE has committed to reaching net zero by 2050, and this goal can only be achieved by slashing the emissions across the board. Air-CRAFT will go a long way in supporting the decarbonization of the aviation sector, helping to make it resilient and sustainable well into the future.”

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, UAE and Chairman, GCAA adds: "Introducing Air-CRAFT at CAAF3 in Dubai emphasises UAE's commitment to accelerate SAF production, and uniting government, private sector, and academia for a collective push toward sustainable aviation practice. Aligned with the net-zero emissions goal by 2050, this consortium, the largest and most unique in the SAF industry, represents a substantial stride towards a greener aviation future, and we look forward to making a significant positive impact through it."

Potential research topics at Air-CRAFT include environmental impact assessments, feedstock and process optimisation, and techno-economic assessments. Air-CRAFT will also establish relevant links with other academic and research institutions in the UAE and internationally, the release added.

“Emirates supports initiatives that contribute to the deployment of SAF," says Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior VP, International Affairs, Emirates Airline. "We’ve contributed to the development of the UAE’s National SAF Roadmap and power-to-liquids fuel roadmaps, and believe the UAE is uniquely placed to lead in this space with its policies, technology and infrastructure capabilities. We see Air-CRAFT as a solid platform to progress the National SAF roadmap into reality, and we are proud to be one of the launch entities.”

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