Trial to use cleaner aviation fuel in Singapore to begin in 2022

Singapore Airlines planes parked at Changi Airport on Nov 5, 2021. The trial to use lower-carbon fuels will be run by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Singapore Airlines and Temasek.
Singapore Airlines planes parked at Changi Airport on Nov 5, 2021. The trial to use lower-carbon fuels will be run by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Singapore Airlines and Temasek.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The aviation industry in Singapore is piloting the use of cleaner fuels in planes next year.

The trial to use lower-carbon fuels will be run by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Singapore's investment company Temasek.

CAAS said in a statement on Saturday (Nov 13) that the pilot programme will run for a year, and producers and suppliers of sustainable aviation fuel have been invited to present their plans on delivering cleaner fuels.

The trial is based on a study done earlier this year by the Government and the aviation industry on the commercial viability and use of sustainable aviation fuels in Changi Airport.

CAAS director-general Han Kok Juan said the programme would involve the local blending of neat sustainable aviation fuels - fuels that are unmixed or undiluted - as well as the certification and delivery of blended sustainable aviation fuels to Changi Airport.

"Sustainability will be a key priority of the aviation sector as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and sustainable aviation fuel will be a critical enabler in the sector's decarbonisation efforts," he said.

Ms Lee Wen Fen, senior vice-president of corporate planning at SIA, said the programme would support the SIA Group's commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

She said: "Sustainable fuels will be one of the key decarbonisation tools in the aviation sector, and we are pleased to partner CAAS and Temasek on this pilot in Singapore. The programme reinforces our longstanding strategy of working towards decarbonisation and environmental sustainability across our operations."

Mr Frederick Teo, Temasek's managing director of sustainable solutions, said the company was looking forward to working closely with CAAS and SIA to collect data on the practical benefits of sustainable aviation fuel.

"The partnership underscores Temasek's commitment to a net-zero carbon emissions portfolio by 2050 as we seek to catalyse industrywide decarbonisation efforts to address today's carbon challenges," said Mr Teo.

He added that it was his hope that the aviation industry could be put on a net-zero path with the outcomes of the programme. "Tackling the climate emergency requires the acceleration of decarbonisation strategies, particularly in hard-to-abate sectors such as aviation and transport.”

CAAS said that the launch of the pilot programme coincided with the unveiling of a sustainable aviation fuel policy toolkit to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on the sidelines of the 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow, Scotland.

The toolkit was developed by the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Ambassadors group under the World Economic Forum's Clean Skies for Tomorrow initiative. The group's member nations include Singapore, Britain, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.

The kit provides a list of options for policymakers to increase demand and provide a steady supply of sustainable fuels to enable a healthy clean fuel ecosystem, said CAAS in its statement.

According to industry group Air Transport Action Group, the aviation industry produced around 100 tonnes of carbon every hour in 2019, and the sector was responsible for 12 per cent of all transport-related emissions and 2 per cent to 3 per cent of all global emissions.

In August, Transport Minister S. Iswaran mentioned in Parliament that sustainable fuels, which are made from resources such as waste oil, could reduce carbon emissions by up to 80 per cent, but they cost two to five times more than conventional fuels.

Correction note: An earlier version of this story said the pilot programme would involve the local production, certification and delivery of neat fuels. This is inaccurate as only the blending of fuels, not the production, will be done in Singapore. We are sorry for the error. It has also been edited to accurately reflect the quote given by Mr Frederick Teo.