French energy company TotalEnergies signed an agreement with state-owned China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) on Tuesday to jointly develop an SAF production unit at Sinopec’s Zhenhai refinery in China.

The planned unit, which will be jointly owned by Sinopec and TotalEnergies, will have the capacity to produce 230,000 tonnes of SAF per year. The facility will process local waste and residues from the area, such as cooking oils and animal fats.

With previous experience in the technical, operational and distribution fields of SAFs, TotalEnergies will help Sinopec develop and implement its SAF production technology, called SRJET, which was first developed in 2009.

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, stated: “We are very pleased to collaborate with SINOPEC, a major player in the global refining industry, to produce sustainable aviation fuels and structure a SAF production chain in China. The development of sustainable aviation fuels is at the heart of our company’s transition strategy, as we strive to meet the aviation industry’s demand to reduce its carbon footprint. TotalEnergies has set itself a target of 1.5 million tons of annual SAF production by 2030.”

SAFs are made from renewable biomass and waste resources. They can deliver the same performance as petroleum-based jet fuel but emit up to 80% less carbon. The International Air Transport Association estimates that SAFs could contribute around 65% of the reduction in emissions needed for the aviation industry to reach net zero by 2050.

Sinopec and TotalEnergies are pursuing a timely venture, given the EU necessitated that from 2025, at least 2% of the tanks of planes flying from EU airports must consist of SAFs. This proportion will increase gradually through the years, rising to 6% by 2030, 20% by 2035 and 70% by 2050.

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Yongsheng Ma, Sinopec group chairman, said: “This milestone collaboration with TotalEnergies is in line with our strategy in the development of low-carbon solutions for China and the world. Sinopec is committed to providing green and low-carbon energy solutions while improving quality and efficiency of its asset portfolio.”