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Wagner signs deal with Boeing for sustainable fuel development

written by Jake Nelson | April 22, 2024

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) being pumped into Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator. (Image: Boeing)

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport owner Wagner has signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing to help develop a local sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) industry.

Wagner Sustainable Fuels has started design and construction on a new SAF blending facility at Wellcamp and will work with Boeing to collaborate on growing SAF capabilities to meet rising local airline demand for jet fuel, which is tipped to grow by 75 per cent over the next 25 years.

“In collaboration with Boeing, the Wellcamp blending facility will demonstrate the greenhouse gas emissions reduction benefits of SAF for our customers, provide a focus for federal and state policymakers and introduce the supply chain to this potential AUD$3 billion+ per year industry,” said Matt Doyle, CEO, Wagner Sustainable Fuels.

“We’re proud to contribute to the building blocks of a sovereign SAF production industry with this Australian-first facility and anticipate by the end of 2024, this facility will mark the start of the supply of SAF in Australia on a consistent basis.”

The new facility will blend SAF in line with international aviation regulations. According to Kim Camrass, sustainability lead at Boeing Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific, the deal is a step towards fulfilling the 2023 Boeing/CSIRO SAF Roadmap, which identified Australia as being in a “prime position” to develop a domestic SAF industry.


“Wagner’s sustainability goals align with Boeing’s work to advance aviation decarbonization and energy security through renewable energy including SAF, advanced technologies, operational efficiency, and fleet renewal,” said Camrass.

“We’re working closely with the Australian Government’s Jet Zero Council to overcome the challenges required to build a domestic SAF industry, such as feedstock availability, supply chain constraints and aligning to international standards.”

According to the roadmap’s author, CSIRO senior manager Max Temminghoff, Australia is in a good position to develop a domestic SAF industry but needs to address key challenges such as feedstock availability, supply chain issues, and international standards and regulations.

“By actively working to liberate feedstocks, the roadmap estimates that Australia is currently sitting on enough resources to produce almost 5 billion litres of SAF by 2025. This could supply nearly 60 per cent of jet fuel demand projected for that year,” he said last year.

“That’s enough fuel to power 640,000 Melbourne to Sydney return flights on a Boeing 737. Through a combination of feedstocks and mature technologies, a large and growing portion of Australia’s jet fuel demand can be met with local materials such as agricultural waste and residues.”

These materials, which include sugarcane, sawmill residues, and municipal solid waste, can be turned into SAF through processes including Alcohol-to-Jet and Fischer-Tropsch, the latter of which is currently being conducted at the CSIRO’s Perth lab.

Qantas, which is working with Boeing rival Airbus on the “Project Ulysses” SAF plant in northern Queensland, has previously called for a SAF blending mandate similar to those in jurisdictions such as the UK, USA, Europe and Japan.

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