Wingtip of aircraft flying over green fields. SAF is expected to play an increasingly important role in helping aviation meet its Net Zero targets

EASA taps Ricardo to lead EU SAF Clearing House


Green Wing logo with white letters against a green backdrop, and leafs on either sideRicardo, a global strategic, environmental and engineering consultancy, has been selected by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to lead a consortium in implementing Europe’s first ever sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) clearing house.

Funded by the EU and managed by EASA, the so-called EU SAF Clearing House is expected to serve as an “impartial one-stop-shop” for fuel producers and original equipment manufacturers to get the support they need to develop new SAF, the drop-in alternative to conventional petroleum-derived hydrocarbons.

“The pan European-based sustainable transport team at Ricardo was awarded the contract to implement the EU SAF Clearing House, following a call for tender,” EASA says in a statement.

“Ricardo — together with Trinity College Dublin, Intertek, Politecnico di Torino, ENVISA, and Spark Legal and Policy Consulting — will establish a network of European and international testing facilities and, in addition to the evaluation services, guide fuel producers in assessing the environmental impacts of their products and in meeting strict eligibility criteria.”

Supporting the scale up of a diverse variety of fuel production pathways and feedstocks, the EU SAF Clearing House will remove barriers to streamline the rapid adoption of SAF. To that end, Ricardo is providing fuel producers with the tools required for what EASA says will be “efficient” ASTM D4054 standard evaluation — the standard that new SAF pathways are evaluated against, including “pre-screening”, partial funding for testing and report writing.

The UK-based consultancy, which boasts a global team of consultants, environmental specialists, engineers and scientists, says the EU SAF Clearing House has already received its first sustainable aviation fuel and is currently testing it.


Increasing SAF production is key to ensuring that airlines can meet new EU regulatory requirements. Adopted in 2023, the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation aims to ensure that airlines play their part in helping the EU meet its target to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. Binding SAF production targets require fuel suppliers to incorporate 2% SAF in 2025, 6% by 2030 and 70% by 2050.

“The demand for SAF will grow ever more to meet the goals set in the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation and increasingly reduce the emissions from aviation,” says EASA strategy & safety management director Maria Rueda.

“Via the EU SAF Clearing House, EASA wants to ensure that the fuel industry gets the support needed to succeed in developing SAF for aviation, so that their innovation efforts are not in vain and more SAF is brought to the market.”

The work is certainly ambitious. SAF currently represent less than 0.05% of total EU aviation fuel use, notes Ricardo, and the supply chain has found scaling volumes to the required commercial levels to be a “significant challenge”, especially given the rigorous testing required before being used in commercial aircraft.

“The Clearing House will be an important milestone in the journey to a cleaner, more sustainable aviation sector in Europe,” says Dr. Rui Neiva, principal consultant, sustainable transport at Ricardo and programme manager for the EU SAF Clearing House.

He believes the EU SAF Clearing House will spur the market for SAF in Europe further afield. “The certification of new fuels, for example, will unlock new opportunities for SAF production and the diversification of feedstocks.

“We have extensive experience of bringing together networks of technical organisations in sectors such as automotive, aerospace and urban transit to collaborate on specific industry challenges. We will be bringing the same organisational expertise to this project, and we look forward to working with our consortium partners, the wider aviation industry and EASA to deliver a service recognised for its efficiency, impartiality and deep technical insight.”

The project’s website is expected to be available soon.

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