News — 2024

SMBC Aviation Capital announces partnership with Trinity College Dublin on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Research Facility


Dublin, 25 January 2024: SMBC Aviation Capital and Trinity College Dublin today announce the Trinity College Dublin SAF Research Facility at SMBC Aviation Capital.  

The research facility will be located at SMBC Aviation Capital’s new landmark offices in Dublin and will provide a dedicated facility for the research, development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels.

The deployment of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) is essential for the decarbonisation of the aviation sector. Produced from sustainable waste plant matter or renewable electricity, these fuels must be chemically identical to fossil aviation fuels, but as they contain little fossil carbon, they emit considerably less carbon over their life cycle.

The EU has mandated that 70% of all aviation fuel in Europe be SAF by 2050. Achieving this will require approximately 300 new SAF manufacturing plants to be built across Europe, and for the fuel produced to be proven to be safe for operation within existing and future aircraft. Acquiring this proof requires exhaustive testing of SAF candidates.

The Research Facility will play a crucial role in identifying and validating potential new fuels and in ensuring their sustainability. The Research Facility will host Trinity’s contribution to the soon to be announced EU SAF Clearing House. A large battery of data must be presented to aircraft and engine manufacturers to prove the air worthiness of each SAF type. The EU SAF Clearing House coordinates this process for SAFs produced in the EU. A key role of the Research Facility is to measure the fuel properties of EU SAFs, to research how their chemical composition influences airworthiness, and to make assessments of the true sustainability of each SAF type. This information is used with the knowledge of experts to provide a “pre-screening” service to SAF producers.

“Sustainable Aviation Fuels will play a crucial role in the industry’s decarbonisation journey and SMBC Aviation Capital is proud to partner with Trinity College Dublin to support the important research they will carry out in this facility.” said David Swan Chief Operations & Sustainability Officer, SMBC Aviation Capital.

“This research will play a key role in helping to scale up production and increase supply of SAF over the coming years. By providing this facility in our award-winning new office building we continue to play a leading role in not only providing tangible decarbonisation solutions for our airline customers worldwide but also in addressing the sustainability challenges that our industry faces.

We strongly believe in being the leader in this area and this partnership which builds on the support from Ryanair and Science Foundation Ireland, is a great opportunity for us and our shareholders to work with Trinity College Dublin and play a positive role in the future of this industry.”

Dr. Stephen Dooley, Associate Professor of Energy Science, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin added:

“The SAF Research Facility is another example of Trinity’s focus on research of Sustainable Aviation and of our strategy to collaborate with industry for the betterment of the environment, society and the economy. It is supported by SMBC Aviation Capital, Ryanair, and Science Foundation Ireland, who philanthropically support our research providing worldclass research space, excellent researchers, and state of the art equipment”. It is the result of several years of genuine collaboration between Trinity and SMBC AC, whom we are really proud to be associated with.”

“Prescreening” is coaching and advisement to early stage SAF producers on the compatibility of their product and process with the ASTM D4054 fuel evaluation process. The full ASTM fuel evaluation process can take a few years to go through, and large volumes of fuel to be produced, so it is key that fuel producers are advised on how their process looks for an eventual positive evaluation as early as possible – saving time and money. The SAF Research Facility will provide this information to the fuel producers, and through the EU SAF Clearing House, to the ASTM D4054 committee. Its activity will remove barriers to deployment of SAFs in Europe and beyond, and also contribute research toward allowing SAF to be used at blends higher that 50% - our modelling shows that this must happen, if aviation is to be decarbonised.”

“The Research Facility also focuses the SAF supply chain for careful sustainability assessment, so that all actors can have confidence that the SAFs produced are displacing maximum quantities of fossil carbon, and not inadvertently creating other negative environmental effects.”




For more information please contact:

Conor Irwin, SVP Communications, SMBC Aviation Capital   +353 86 381 6106

Note to Editors

About SMBC Aviation Capital  

Based in the IFSC 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 Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin, founded in 1592 is Ireland’s oldest university and today has a vibrant community of 22,000 students and 3,500 staff. Cutting edge research, technology and innovation place the university at the forefront of higher education in Ireland and globally. It encompasses all major academic fields, and is committed to world-class teaching and research across the range of disciplines in the arts and humanities, business, law, engineering, science, social and health sciences. Trinity is ranked 1st in Ireland and in the top 100 world universities by the QS World University Rankings. 


"Sustainable Aviation Fuels will play a crucial role in the industry’s decarbonisation journey and SMBC Aviation Capital is proud to partner with Trinity College Dublin to support the important research they will carry out in this facility."

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