Enabling sustainable
aviation and
marine fuels

Building a bridge to decarbonization with biology

Let's Accelerate the journey to Net Zero

Transport is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than one third of emissions. The combined contributions of aviation and shipping to global energy-related emissions are relatively small at around 4%. But both sectors are hard to abate, and neither is on track to meet its Net Zero goal. We urgently need to change this, and a one-size-fits all solution won’t work. We need to tackle the unique barriers each sector faces on the journey to Net Zero with a multi-pathway approach, enabled by technology collaborations.

The barriers to jet zero

Electric vehicles are playing a key role in moving car transport to Net Zero. Unfortunately, they can’t play the same role in aviation.

Electric batteries just can’t store enough power and stay light enough for middle- to long-distance air travel. This is a key barrier to jet zero, as 80% of aviation emissions come from flights of more than 1,500km.

Infrastructure is another barrier. The global aviation fleet currently stands at around 27,000. Implementing any solution other than a liquid fuel alternative to fossil jet fuels would mean changing all engines in this fleet. Airports would also need to completely overhaul their infrastructure.

woman looking at an airplane

55 Billion Tonnes

That was the amount of CO2 emitted into our atmosphere in 2021. And the number has not started declining yet. So every tonne we can save with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and Sustainabile Marine Fuels (SMF) counts.

SAF: a bridge to decarbonization

There’s no doubt that multiple pathways will ultimately bring us to a decarbonized aviation sector. But if we’re serious about getting the sector to Net Zero by 2050, we need to make the most of what we have available right now.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) are a ready-to-scale solution, and the major SAFs are drop-in components. That’s because – in essence - they’re chemically identical to fossil-based kerosene. There are multiple officially approved pathways for SAF blends of up to 50% in jet fuel. So while scaling up SAF production will take investment, incorporating them in current airport engines and infrastructure won’t.

That makes them the ideal bridge to full decarbonization of the global aviation fleet. In spite of all these benefits, they currently account for less than 0.1% of all aviation fuels consumed. To get that figure up to 10% by 2030 – in line with the Net Zero Scenario – we need to explore and exploit every potential route and feedstock.

Working hand-in-hand with chemical catalysis, our biosolutions are enabling some promising options.

Operator refuel plane with Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable Aviation Fuels enabled by biosolutions


SAF from waste oils is the most mature technology for SAF. Most of the sustainable fuels produced for aviation commercially today are developed via this pathway.


The technology involves pretreating waste Fats Oils and Grease (FOGs) with our enzymes. This gets them ready for conversion by chemical catalysis. The process is known as Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) and the resulting fuel as HEFA-SAF.


In ethanol to jet fuel, chemical catalysis converts corn-based or biomass-based bioethanol to jet fuel. Our yeasts and enzymes increase product and by-product yields. By enabling biorefineries (see below), they also reduce the Carbon Intensity (CI) of bioethanol.

This CI-optimized ethanol is ideal for complying with carbon reduction mandates and/or benefiting from incentive schemes. It’s also perfect for conversion to low-CI SAF.


Power to Liquid is a synthetically-produced liquid hydrocarbon. Our enzymes make capturing its feedstock – CO2 – more affordable and sustainable.

We’re also working to convert CO2 into more sustainable protein in a consortium that combines our biological know-how with the chemo-catalytic conversion expertise of Topsoe A/S. Other consortium members include the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The barriers to
low-emissions shipping

Just like aviation, shipping is a hard-to-abate sector. Yet in spite of the challenges, the shipping community has set ambitious near- and longer-term goals. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims for a 20-30% reduction in shipping emissions by 2030. The goal is to then progress to a 70-80% reduction by 2040.

Technology maturity is a key barrier to meeting these goals, as many proposed solutions are still in the R&D phase. Another is ships’ long lifespan. They last for decades, so solutions that need new infrastructure will involve expensive and time-consuming retrofitting. These two factors put the IMO’s goals at risk. It’s clear that reaching the 2030 target will take a here-and-now ‘drop in’ solution.

Sustainable Marine Fuels (SMF) can help. Blending waste-based enzymatic biodiesel, also known as FAME biodiesel, into current shipping fuels is just such a solution. Along with chemical catalysis, enzymes also have a role to play in enabling longer-term solutions including cellulosic ethanol for shipping and Bio-LNG. All these solutions will play a part in overcoming the barriers to low-emissions shipping.

Old cargo ship at sunset

Sustainable Marine Fuels enabled by biosolutions

Waste-based FAME biodiesel

Waste feedstocks such as used cooking oils and animal fats have high Free Fatty Acid (FFA) levels. That limits their use in Fatty Acid Methyl Esters biodiesel.

Our enzymes convert both glycerides and FFA into biodiesel to enable the use of a wide range of high-FFA waste feedstocks.

Ethanol for shipping

The possibility of co-burning with methanol makes ethanol a potential future fuel for shipping. Using ethanol obtained by fiber and biomass conversion reduces ethanol’s CI.

Our biosolutions are key enablers of both these processes.


Examples of Bio-Liquefied Natural Gas include biogas and bio-methane. These SMFs will enable the transition from natural gas.

As they will need new ships, they're very much a future fuel that can play a role as the current fleet is replaced.

Lowering the carbon intensity of SAF and SMF with biorefineries

While many of these fuels show a lot of promise, we still need to seize every opportunity to reduce their carbon intensity. When considering carbon intensity, it’s important to remember that few plants only produce biofuel. Most are fully-functioning ‘biorefineries’.

They convert a range of feedstocks into renewable energy, animal feed and renewables. Our biosolutions play a role in enabling and optimizing all these processes.

By helping biorefineries to squeeze the very most from their inputs, they support lower-CI SAFs and SMFs.


Biosolutions in Biorefinery - SAF and SMF infographic

Reducing CI from farm to fuel tank with biology

Through biology, we’ve been helping biofuel producers around the world maximize yields for decades. We currently supply around 60% of the global starch-based ethanol market with biosolutions. And through our Cellic® solutions, we enabled the cellulosic industry.

Before crops even reach the biorefinery, our biosolutions help reduce their carbon intensity. Our biosolutions for corn are a great example. Applied to all US corn fields, they could deliver annual emissions reductions of 3.9M metric tons of CO2e.

Corn field

Biosolutions can
help us accelerate
towards a climate-neutral society

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