Systemic Approaches For Aviation Research Initiative (“SAFARI”)

Shaping the Future of Sustainable Flight

Who we are: An industry-led R&D Consortium

We are a diverse group of organizations representing the aviation fuel ecosystem.  We are dedicated to accelerating the learning rate of participant innovators and a community of organizations seeking realistic options for fully decarbonizing the aviation sector.  Our mission is to widen the pipeline of prospective technologies that are capable of attaining billion-gallon scale production of carbon-neutral aviation fuels.

What we do: Address the technological death valley

We fund and manage advanced pre-commercial R&D projects (TRL 2-4 range). Our mission is to address the gap between publicly funded research and new commercialized technology – known as the technological death valley. We are taking a unique approach with ACT’s Innovation Network. We collaborate with industry partners, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to advance concepts and technologies that have the prospect for billion-gallon scale decarbonization.

How we do it: Unprecedented collaboration

The aviation sector requires unprecedented collaboration to close the climate action gap. We must bring together stakeholders from across the aviation ecosystem together to support rapid scale-up and adoption. The strength of ACT’s Innovation Network (the community of members and how they create and share value) is derived from the organization and scientific diversity within an industry-led consortium model (engineered, skill-sharing design) that has been demonstrated successfully in other fields. We believe that research collaboration that includes nontraditional partnerships will allow us to move faster, and in a more commercial way, to accelerate breakthroughs in critical emerging technologies by 10 years.


(January-February 2024)

Identification of potential consortium members. 

Concept Ideation and Teaming
(Feb-Mar 2024) 

R&D teams aiming to lead projects will submit concept papers that include desired capabilities and resources.  A Teaming Partner List will be made available to allow organizations to facilitate potential collaborations in this regard. Teams may also express to ACT their interest to be matched with potential research partners upon submission of the concept paper.

(Apr-May 2024)

Augmented teams will meet and develop project scopes, schedules, and budgets in alignment with guidance that will become available in April. 

Review Period
(Jun-Aug 2024)

Refined projects are evaluated by the consortium’s selection committee.  Funding allocations are made, commensurate with availability of matching funds. Selections are announced.

Priority Needs for Future Aviation Fuels

The following priority needs are expected to persist into or emerge after 2030.

1. Greater volumes of suitable inputs. This pertains to the use of a range of carbon, hydrogen, and energy sources. Suitability relates to impact as evaluated by GHG accounting and more generally by lifecycle assessment.

2. Enhanced scalability of “infrastructure and ecosystem”¹. This pertains to the siting of new facilities, including retrofitting or anchoring as well as construction of greenfield facilities. “Scalability” also pertains to the logistical aspects of transportation and the aggregation of feedstocks and intermediates.

1. Infrastructure refers to the physical structures such as pipelines, roads, power sources, and existing facilities needed for the fuel production system. Ecosystem refers to secondary infrastructure that enables the expansion of the primary infrastructure, and includes supportive financial and legal institutions.


Technology Topics of Interest

The transition towards widespread availability of net-zero aviation fuels will require innovative efforts that address several areas including feedstocks, conversion pathways, and infrastructure. Technologies are needed to address these areas both individually and collectively. In alignment with the above priority needs, key enabling technologies are sought to address feedstocks, conversion, and infrastructure collectively. Accordingly, the following topic statements highlight opportunities where innovation has potential for impact.


ACT is targeting a research program on the order of $50 million in total project costs over a five-year period and pending availability of matching funds from public and private sources. This corresponds to three cohorts of approximately fifteen projects with up to a three-year duration per project. Once priority projects have been identified, ACT will fundraise for an appropriate level of matching capital and may provide starter funds in the interim.

Topic 1: Hybridization of Feedstocks and Intermediates 

A rapidly expanding fuel production enterprise makes the most of “plug-and-play” opportunities that utilize existing permits and infrastructure (channels for transportation, energy, and water) while increasing the diversity of feedstocks and intermediates directed at fuel pathways, i.e., hybridization. This is an important complement to greenfield facility development

Successful hybridization approaches will improve system resiliency and facility economics through diversification and exploitation of synergistic effects. Opportunities for hybridization may be realized through the co-location of ancillary operations at existing facilities. For the purposes of this RFP, existing facilities include biorefineries, petrochemical refineries, chemical plants, and other facilities at the nexus of transport, water, and energy infrastructure.

Hybridization may also be achieved by sourcing inputs in the absence of co-location possibilities. In this regard, the conversion and densification of intermediates to facilitate transportation and downstream processing are suitable areas.

Topic 2: Amplifying Products and Generating Valuable Byproducts

A highly productive aviation fuel enterprise transfers as many carbon and hydrogen atoms as possible from the feedstock to the final product, maximizing atom efficiency. However, fuel pathways experience losses through generation of byproduct gases or solids. This convention is not suitable when carbon and hydrogen sources are limited. Atom efficiency can be improved by separating and converting low-value byproducts, recycling unreacted compounds, improving the selectivity of reactions, and generating valuable byproducts. In some cases, the substitution of an upstream unit operation could shift the products and byproducts to a more manageable set.

Concepts sought under this topic area are enabling technologies that improve product yield and facility economics, for a selected pathway and feedstock.

Informational Webinar: Request for Proposals for Aviation Fuels R&D

On Feb 12th, ACT hosted a public informational webinar to provide information on its Request for Proposal (RFP). Presentation slides from that webinar are posted below. The specific RFP will be published soon.

Download Presentation

Next steps: Seeking R&D Teams 

Please visit SAFARI’s research consortium at to learn more about key aspects of our work and join us in our mission to accelerate the path to net zero aviation. We welcome researchers, experts, and leaders from organizations that are interested in shaping the future of aviation fuels.