News — 2024

New Report Concludes Investment and Policy Crucial to Meet Japan’s Goals for Sustainable Aviation Fuel


  • Domestic sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) feedstock analysis concludes domestic feedstocks are enough to meet close to 100% of Japan’s 2030 target of 10% SAF; however, refining capacity limits the ability to tap those resources
  • Policy support is crucial to encouraging investment and establishing SAF facilities to refine the existing feedstocks
  • Study commissioned by Boeing, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and SMBC Aviation Capital, in support of commercial aviation’s and Japan’s shared goal of 2050 net zero emissions

TOKYO, April 10, 2024 — Boeing, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and SMBC Aviation Capital unveiled a new jointly commissioned study that evaluates the availability of sustainable feedstocks in Japan as well as technologies and policies needed to scale up sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production in the country, further advancing aviation’s decarbonization journey.  

SAF certified for use today can reduce carbon emissions over the fuel’s lifecycle by up to 85% and holds the greatest potential to reduce aviation’s emissions over the next 30 years.

The study, developed by the strategic consultancy firm ICF, identifies opportunities to scale SAF production in Japan, highlighting that enough domestic feedstocks exist to meet Japan’s 2030 goal of using 10% SAF for international flights. However, the lack of refining capacity to convert these advanced feedstocks into SAF in Japan inhibits its ability to meet its 2030 target.

The report also points to the need for additional technology investment and policy mechanisms to direct Japan’s advanced feedstocks, such as woody biomass, municipal solid waste and renewable electricity, into aviation and use their potential for SAF production to achieve a cost competitive Japanese SAF ecosystem. These offer the highest opportunity for a domestic SAF production in longer term, with production up to 11 billion liters per year (including e-fuel), or 80% of total jet fuel demand, by 2050.

Other key takeaways include:

  1. Scaling SAF production using renewable energy sources, such as renewable diesel, present an opportunity for Japan to diversify the energy supply, improving its energy resilience and security
  2. Support mechanisms are needed to de-risk and scale technologies to facilitate widespread SAF production, such as:
  • incentives for initial producers to build expertise for a globally competitive Japanese SAF industry
  • government research funding to de-risk new technologies and facilities that Japan may be able to export as the global market develops
  • longer term SAF targets to improve investor confidence
  • alignment with other low carbon industries including hydrogen and renewable electricity, amongst others

“Decarbonizing aviation is one of the most complex challenges facing our industry today,” said Will Shaffer, Boeing Japan President. “We are honored to come together with our esteemed customer, SMBC Aviation Capital, and long-standing industry partner, MHI, to help identify how current and potential players in Japan can lead in this global transition. Among all of the decarbonization strategies we are pursuing, we know that SAF is the “drop-in” solution available today to help us achieve net zero emissions, and at Boeing we are working locally to scale SAF globally. We are encouraged to see that Japan has the potential to build a local SAF ecosystem with the right combination of policy, investment and feedstock development.”

“Realizing a carbon neutral society is essential for the future of our planet. We believe that as a technology leader, with a proven track record in the field of decarbonization, it is MHI’s responsibility to be a leader in the fight against climate change,” said Dr. Hitoshi Kaguchi, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of GX Solutions at MHI. “We are very proud to support this study with Boeing and SMBC Aviation Capital to contribute to mitigating the aviation industry’s impact on the global environment.”

“SAF will be a critical part in our industry’s journey to net zero and we are determined to support the more widespread adoption of SAF and future innovations that will help scale up production and increase supply in the coming years.” said David Swan, Chief Operations & Sustainability Officer, SMBC Aviation Capital. “This is not only a challenge, but a great opportunity for us and our shareholders to play a positive role in the future of this industry by investing in decarbonization initiatives such as this study as well as financing the research and development of SAF.

We must continue to work together to address both our own and the aviation industry’s climate challenges and we are proud to have had the opportunity to work with Boeing and MHI to support this study which will help achieve these goals.”

View the complete report here.



For more information please contact:

Conor Irwin, SMBC Aviation Capital                +353 87 381 6106

Dara O’Sullivan, SMBC Aviation Capital         +353 86 021 0135

Richard Webster-Smith, FGS Global               +44 20 7251 3801


About Boeing

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing's diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company's core values of safety, quality and integrity. Join our team and find your purpose at

About Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, smart infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace and defense.
MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon neutral world, improve the quality of life and ensure a safer world. For more information, please visit or follow our insights and stories on

About SMBC Aviation Capital 

Based in Dublin, Ireland, SMBC Aviation Capital is the second largest aircraft operating lease company globally by number of aircraft, with an owned, managed and committed fleet of just over 950 aircraft. The company focuses on the most technologically advanced, fuel efficient and narrowbody aircraft types, providing customers across the globe with the aircraft they need to successfully grow their businesses.  Established in 2001, the company was acquired in 2012 by a consortium comprised of two of Japan’s biggest companies SMFG and Sumitomo Corporation.  For additional information, please visit SMBC Aviation Capital’s website at

About ICF

ICF is a global consulting and digital services company whose work covers different sectors and economic areas. The company’s aviation experts work across the aviation value chain, supporting clients to navigate the complexities and uncertainties as the aviation industry emerges from COVID-19 and increasingly looks to reduce its environmental impact. Its aviation experience ranges from leading the analysis for DG CLIMA on potential combinations of EU ETS & CORSIA, to detailed advisory on airline sustainable fuel offtake contracts and decarbonisation strategies. ICF draws on best-practice developed while successfully delivering sustainability projects for over 75 Global FT500 leading companies. Learn more at




“SAF will be a critical part in our industry’s journey to net zero and we are determined to support the more widespread adoption of SAF and future innovations that will help scale up production and increase supply in the coming years.”

David Swan, Chief Operations & Sustainability Officer, SMBC Aviation Capital

Media Enquiries:

Conor Irwin/Dara O’Sullivan
SMBC Aviation Capital

+353 1 859 9000


Charles O'Brien

+44 0 7825 043 656