Webinar on Sustainable Aviation Fuel


Webinar on Sustainable Aviation Fuel

The Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI) in association with Axens organized the webinar on Sustainable Aviation Fuel on 5th April, 2022. The webinar focussed on various technology pathways for Sustainable Aviation Fuel production.  The webinar witnessed participation of more than 70 professionals working across the oil and gas value chain.

Mr. DLN Sastri, Director (Oil Refining & Marketing), FIPI started the session with the opening remarks. He mentioned that Government has laid down various initiatives like One nation one grid, Ethanol blending programme, SATAT (bio gas) scheme, FAME (EVs) scheme etc to ensure efficient, sustainable and clean energy system for India in future. He said that emissions in the aviation sector can be reduced through improved fuel efficiency in new aircraft, aircraft modifications, airport restructuring, and optimised navigational systems. However, a significant longer-term reduction of emissions would require airlines to use more fuels that are renewable and sustainable, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

He said that sustainable aviation fuels can help to facilitate greenhouse gas emission reduction in aviation fuel production through the deployment of innovative technologies and support India’s goals to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2070. He said that effective R&D strategy, lower cost of production and a supportive regulatory framework is vital for sustainable aviation fuels to be considered as safe alternative fuel to fossil-based fuel. He mentioned that the use of SAF in aviation sector promotes the objective of reducing import dependency, generating employment, and providing better remuneration to farmer.

Mr. Yvon Bernard, Business Development Manager, Bio & renewables, Axens started with the presentation “Introduction to Axens biofuel technologies portfolio and Global context”. He talked about the presence of Axens worldwide especially in refining and petrochemicals, gases and alternatives & renewables and said that Axens has over 3000 industrial units under license and over 500 modular units’ references.

Mr. Harshit Agarwal, Deputy Country Sales Manager, Axens talked about Indian biofuels market scenario. He said that Axens have provided over 150 plus license units and 10000 tons of catalyst to all major oil and gas PSU’s in India. He then mentioned about the biofuel market present in India and discussed the ethanol production and blending rates. He said that by 2018 there was focus on 2G and 3 G pathways of producing SAF or renewable diesel and hence the target of blending ethanol with gasoline was revised to 20%. He mentioned that the consumption of biofuel is low in the Indian market and discussed the steps that need to be addressed in case of biofuel market. Firstly, he mentioned that at present there is no mandate for aviation biofuels; i.e., SAF in India, and hence there is a need for a supportive regulatory environment for SAF market to grow. Secondly, more tax rebates need to be extended to make blending of biofuel with fossil fuel a viable option. Thirdly, the reliability and sustainability of pricing of feedstock needs to be ascertained.

Further he highlighted few challenges associated with SAF such as developing sustainable supply chains for 2G feedstock, transportation of feedstock, and pricing of feedstock. Secondly, he mentioned about the higher cost of production associated with SAF than the traditional pathways and as such the need for financial grants/tax credits or initial investment support arises to support the SAF market. Thirdly research needs to be undertaken on vehicle engines so that lower Co2 emissions are released.

Mr. Yvon Bernard, Business Development Manager, Bio & renewables, Axens then mentioned about the technological pathways associated with SAF, namely, Vegan, Biotfuel (biomass to liquid), Futurol (2G Enzymatic conversion), Gasel and ATJ (Alcohol to jet). However, for each technology he asserted that the major challenge continues to be huge investment required, tax incentive support and feedstock availability.  He said that Axens is also conducting feasibility studies to identify feedstock, and understand capacity & logistics related to feedstock to mitigate this problem.

Mr. Maxime Vassieu, Technologist, Alcohol to jet team, Axens presented the pathway related to Alcohol to jet route. He highlighted the aviation fuel specifications containing synchronised hydrocarbons and discussed about the APJ-SPK (synthetic paraffinic kerosene) production steps. He also mentioned that Axens provides global technology solution for all types of supply chain and ensures flexibility in terms of feedstock product by providing wide range of ethanol qualities. He also said that the products Axens products are certified according to ASTM D 7566 the SG amp D 75 666 and have more than 60 related patents across the technology chain.

Mr. Yvon Bernard concluded the presentation and highlighted that SAF have huge market potential in India due to availability of low cost of manpower, availability of biomass and low equipment cost.

Mr. Praveen Rai, Deputy Director, FIPI conducted the Q&A session and our panellists provided their views and opinions on various queries posted by our participants. Lastly, Mr. Siddhartha Saha, Country Head, Sales & marketing, Axens gave his closing remarks. He said that with huge initiatives towards energy transition through hydrogen and biofuels, aviation sector is also making a step forward with a large-scale production outlook expected for SAF in India. He further said that Axens will continue to support Indian industry and provide the companies with various technological solutions for benefit of the nation as a whole.