The feasibility of short-term production strategies for renewable jet fuels – a comprehensive techno-economic comparison

S.A. de Jong, E.T.A. Hoefnagels, André Faaij, Raphael Slade, Rebecca Mawhood, H.M. Junginger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study compares the short-term economic feasibility of six conversion pathways for renewable jet fuel (RJF) production. The assessment combines (i) a harmonized techno-economic analysis of conversion pathways expected to be certified for use in commercial aviation by 2020, (ii) a pioneer plant analysis taking into account technological immaturity, and (iii) a quantified assessment of the merits of co-producing RJF alongside existing European supply chains in the pulp, wheat ethanol, and beet sugar industries. None of the pathways assessed are able to reach price parity with petroleum-derived jet fuel in the short term. The pioneer plant analysis suggests that the hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) pathway is currently the best option; the technology achieves the lowest minimum fuel selling price (MFSP) of 29.3 € GJ–1 (1289 € t–1) and the technology is deployed on commercial scale already. In the short term, nth plant analysis shows hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) and pyrolysis emerging as promising alternatives, yielding MFSPs of 21.4 € GJ–1 (939 € t–1) and 30.2 € GJ–1 (1326 € t–1), respectively. The pioneer plant analysis shows considerable MFSP increases for producing drop-in fuels using HTL and pyrolysis as both technologies are relatively immature. Hence, further RD&D efforts into these pathways are recommended. Co-production strategies decrease the MFSP by 4–8% compared to greenfield production. Integration of process units and material and energy flows is expected to lead to further cost reductions. As such, co-production can be a particularly useful strategy to progress emerging technologies to commercial scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778–800
Number of pages23
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number9
Early online date19 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2015


  • Renewable Jet Fuel
  • biofuel
  • alternative fuel
  • techno-economic assessment
  • aviation
  • co-production
  • valorisation


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