University of Limerick on course to develop sustainable aviation fuel

University’s Bernal Institute signs deal with leading Dutch biofuel company SkyNRG

An initiative to develop biofuel in Ireland suitable for use in aviation has been announced by the University of Limerick and a Dutch company which is a global leader in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The Bernal Institute at the university has signed a memorandum of understanding with SkyNRG to explore development of sustainable aviation fuel manufacturing in Ireland. The agreement was signed in the presence of Dutch minister of trade Sigrid Kaag, at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin on Thursday.

The Bernal Institute and SkyNRG will explore the potential of a regional SAF supply chain in Ireland, complemented by academic collaboration with UL.

Bernal was chosen given its strategic profile in disruptive sustainable technology development to solve global challenges

The memorandum, signed by the university's vice-president of research, Dr Mary Shire, and SkyNRG chief executive Maarten van Dijk, "aims to expand the relationship for research co-operation on technological, societal and market development of sustainable aviation biofuels in the Irish context".


The collaboration emerged following an EU-wide call to reduce carbon emissions associated with aviation. “Bernal was chosen given its strategic profile in disruptive sustainable technology development to solve global challenges, especially in energy, environment and health,” said its director, Luuk van der Wielen.

The signing was attended by Norah Patten, project manager at the Irish Composites Centre (iComp), which is also based at the institute.

“The Bernal Institute works already on many aspects relevant for emission reduction in aviation such as lightweight composite structures. This collaboration will be a good complement to research at iComp,” she said.

The signing took place at a seminar on sustainable renewable energy held to coincide with the State visit to Ireland of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times