There are opportunities for Ireland in the development of sustainable aviation fuels, according to a report by Aircraft Leasing Ireland (ALI) and KPMG.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel are biofuels and synthetic fuels used in commercial jet engines.

Experts estimate that they can reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional jet fuel.

"The aviation industry is targeting net zero emissions by 2050," said Marie-Louise Kelly, Chairperson of ALI.

"While technologies such as electric flight and hydrogen power are being developed, SAF is the most promising solution that the aviation sector has in the decarbonisation of our skies as it is not only available near-term, but it is also scalable."

SAF can theoretically be made in any country, but it faces a range of challenges.

These include the availability of feedstock or green electricity.

While cost, sustainability certification, investment and demand from other sectors such as road transport are also difficulties facing production.

The report sets out the actions that the aircraft leasing sector and the Government could take to help with production.

These include include establishing a framework for SAF production, partnering with universities to fund SAF research and development and supporting the creation of a sustainability accreditation register.

"Demand for SAF is growing and its production is ramping up globally, particularly in the US, but existing and planned SAF projects alone cannot decarbonise the aviation sector nor support the levels of demand," said Jan Melgaard, Chair of ALI's Sustainability Committee.

"By incentivising the development and production of SAF, this government can help attract what will be a game-changing manufacturing sector to Ireland, which will also lead to the creation of a significant number of highly skilled jobs."

Ireland is well placed to take part in the growth in production of SAF, as most of the world's biggest aircraft leasing firms are based here and together they own nearly 50% of the global aircraft fleet.

The country is also predicted to become a leader in renewable energy production in the coming years due to the growth in offshore wind generation.

"As a country, Ireland is well positioned to support the development and production of SAF as we have significant sources of key items required, namely renewable electricity, and agricultural and forestry residues, not to mention the intellectual capital actively involved in this sector," said Shane O'Reilly, Director, KPMG.

"SAF development is also closely aligned with Government targets for independent, renewable energy production, therefore we must work closely together to accelerate its production and adoption," he added.