An exciting new research centre to develop, test, validate and certify new zero carbon and sustainable aviation fuels.

Making new sustainable aviation fuels a reality

The Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC) is a bespoke research centre for the development and testing of sustainable aviation fuels. SAF-IC is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the University of Sheffield.

The centre will be the first of its kind in the UK to capture CO2, produce green hydrogen, convert them into sustainable aviation fuels and analyse their performance and technical sustainability in one single location. The facility will work in combination with the neighbouring Translational Energy Research Centre to support state-of-the-art research and provide much needed testing capabilities to help ready sustainable aviation fuels for commercial use.

SAF-IC will act as a clearing house to help producers and users of sustainable aviation fuels approve their products for application in the aviation sector, and offers laboratory and testing capabilities as well as coordination and networking facilities.

Currently in construction at the University of Sheffield Innovation District, the centre is expected to be fully operational by July 2022.

The challenge – and the solution

Sustainable aviation fuels are vital to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions. The UK aviation industry is responsible for around seven per cent of total UK carbon emissions, and this number is growing fast. However, aviation’s reliance on fossil fuels makes it a challenging sector to decarbonise.

Using Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), instead of and blended with current fuels, offers a solution for making flights more sustainable, and helping to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

However, producing SAFs and bringing them to market is challenging, as they are subject to tighter standards and regulations before they can be approved for use. New SAF options may require a large number of tests, which can cost millions of pounds, tens of thousands of liters of fuels, years of testing and ongoing commitment of resources for fuels from SAF producers.

To significantly reduce the costs, fuel usage and time it takes to test SAFs, SAF-IC offers pre-screening methods that can provide feedback and facilitate fuel producer chemical process modelling, which will de-risk the development of new fuels and technologies.

Furthermore, the centre will have the capability for large scale experimental testing for fit-for-purpose properties such as aviation fuel thermal thermal stability, material compatibility and combustion and emissions in order to provide a complete assessment of sustainable aviation fuels.

Work with us

If you are developing a sustainable aviation fuel, or if you are developing technology related to aviation fuel systems, we want to work with you.

Many producers of sustainable aviation fuels and related technologies, especially SMEs, require support to scale up production and formally test fuels and hardware related to fuel systems. SAF-IC will provide this support with access to collaboration space, world-leading next-generation equipment and the expertise needed to carry out all of the key stages of the testing process required to formalise a new fuel as well as to assess the operability of hardware with SAFs.

Our research expertise and state-of-the-art facilities will enable you to test, develop, investigate, validate and certify your fuel, giving valuable insight into fuel chemistry, as well as fuel systems performance and more at a fraction of the cost and time compared to full scale engine testing.

We are well-placed to meet the needs of a wide range of projects, including working with:

  • Academic teams
  • Industrial partners – including aviation fuel producers, aircraft engine OEMs and the aircraft engine component supply chain
  • Local and national SMEs
  • Airports and other infrastructure businesses

Meet the team

  • Dr Mohammed Ismail Theme Manager

    Dr Mohammed Ismail leads on the theme of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies at the Translational Energy Research Centre and Energy 2050 at the University of Sheffield. Click the image to learn more.

  • Dr Janos Szuhanszki Theme Manager

    Dr Janos Szuhanszki leads the Biomass, Bioenergy and Waste-to-Energy research themes at the Translational Energy Research Centre and Energy 2050 at the University of Sheffield. Click the image to learn more.

  • Dr Stavros Michailos Research Associate

    Dr Stavros Michailos is a Research Associate for the Translational Energy Research Centre and Energy 2050 at the University of Sheffield. He leads on the theme of sustainable aviation fuel production and CO2 supply chains. Click the image to learn more.

  • Rhianne Spurden Marketing & Communications Officer

    Rhianne Spurden is the Marketing and Communications Officer for the Translational Energy Research Centre and for other Energy research at the University of Sheffield, including the Energy Institute. Click the image to learn more.