Sheffield to have world leading research centre for sustainable aviation fuels

University of Sheffield looks set to have a new centre for research, innovation and commercial testing of sustainable aviation fuels – the first of its kind in Europe – in a year’s time.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 7:35 am

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC), part of the University’s Energy Institute, will provide world-leading, state-of-the-art facilities to test, certify and deploy new sustainable aviation fuels and will be located at the University of Sheffield Innovation District.

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Jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Sheffield, the centre will act as a ‘clearing house’ with facilities to test, validate and certify new fuels.

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University of Sheffield building the first sustainable aviation fuels facility in Europe

This means, SAF-IC will be the first centre in Europe to be able to capture carbon dioxide, produce green hydrogen, convert them into sustainable aviation fuels and analyse their performance all in one single location.

The university said having such a facility in the UK will accelerate regulatory approvals of new fuels and give the UK certification capabilities, as it will be a development hub for the research and scaling-up of sustainable aviation fuels, offering laboratory and testing space as well as coordination and networking facilities.

Director of the University of Sheffield Energy Institute and Managing Director for the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre, Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian, said: “We are extremely excited to be establishing this state-of-the-art innovation centre in the heart of the University of Sheffield Innovation District.

“SAF-IC will help the UK to determine the best pathways to net zero aviation, and play a crucial role nationally and internationally in delivering truly sustainable flight.

“One of the most unique and critical aspects of SAF-IC is that the centre will be the first of its kind to research fuels which are made without any fossil fuels in the process, including improving understanding of how we can use bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to make a negative emissions fuel.

“SAF-IC will enable businesses and academics to drive forward their research and technology at a swift pace thanks to its technical and clearing house abilities, allowing the nation to work in line with the targets set by the Department for Transport for net zero emissions from aviation by 2050.”

Work has already begun on the centre, which is anticipated to be fully operational by July 2022.