Airport operators Groupe ADP and GMR Airports together with Airbus, Axens and Safran have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct a joint study on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and its potential in India.
The objective of the study, conducted under the lead and coordination of Groupe ADP and GMR Airports and with the expertise of all partners, is to understand and evaluate the demand, the challenges and opportunities of supply, infrastructure and fuelling, as well as to prepare a business case for SAF production and use in India for all kind of aviation purposes.
SAF is a clean substitute for fossil jet fuels. Rather than being refined from petroleum, SAF is produced from sustainable resources such as waste oils from a biological origin, agri residues, municipal solid waste or algae. SAF produced using the most advanced pathways can provide CO2 emission reduction of up to 85% across the entire SAF lifecycle.
The aviation sector globally contributes to 2-3% of CO2 emissions as compared to other sectors. In 2009, the aviation industry collectively agreed under the frame of ATAG (Air Transport Action Group) to the world’s first set of sector-specific climate change targets. These targets include carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and achieving 50% reduction in carbon emission by 2050 relative to a 2005 baseline. In 2021, the ATAG commitments were modified to aim at Net Zero in 2050, in order to be coherent with current global roadmaps defined in the Paris Agreement with 1.5°C temperature limit scenario. To realise this ambitious goal for the aviation sector, ATAG has identified SAF as one of the most promising options. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) also stressed the need for massive deployment of SAF in its work dedicated to LTAG (Long Term Aspirational Goals) recently adopted.
In India, already the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world and with a forecasted yearly growth of about 9% going forward, SAF use will be a key element to achieve the targets of carbon reduction and net-zero target of the country by 2070, set by the Indian Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi. Considering the crucial role SAF is going to play within the aviation sector in coming years, it is imperative to evaluate and map the requirements of SAF, feedstock availability, fuel production technologies, logistics systems and airport infrastructural planning at Indian Airports and make it future ready.
The joint study on Sustainable Aviation Fuels will help Indian aviation sector in assessing all these critical factors and help them gear up for the future. The study will also review the regulations in place and what could be the necessary evolutions to permit to the SAF to take off in the operations. In addition, this study will also evaluate the business model and feasibility of the implementation of a pilot project in an appropriate location in India, which could be taken up in a second phase by the partners. The study will be initiated in the second quarter of 2022 and is expected to be completed within one year. It may be further extended based on the agreement of all the parties involved.