DOE to set guidelines for sustainable aviation fuel

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) targets to put in place regulations on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to prop up the push for the decarbonization of the commercial aviation industry in the country.

DOE Undersecretary Alessandro Sales said the agency is working to establish the necessary framework and regulations to support the adoption of SAF.

Sales said the move is part of the DOE’s commitment to create a sustainable aviation transport sector that will contribute to the broader national efforts towards a low-carbon future.

The DOE sees SAF as an environmentally sustainable and chemically identical alternative to fossil fuel-based aviation fuel.

SAF can be processed from plant and used oil feedstock, such as forestry and agricultural waste and used vegetable oils, according to the agency.

In the Philippines, the DOE said one potential feedstock for SAF is coconut oil, which is also used for biodiesel production.

“The use of SAF is intended to reduce the carbon footprint associated with aviation operations,” Sales said.

“This alternative fuel source, derived from renewable feedstock, holds the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring the highest safety and performance standard,” he said.

The DOE said it is closely collaborating with the country’s aviation sector and international partners to decarbonize the commercial aviation industry through the use of SAF.

The agency also acknowledges international initiatives such as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which offers a harmonized way to reduce emissions from international aviation.

CORSIA allows the use of SAF derived from biomass or waste resources in order to reduce the carbon offsetting requirements of airlines.

Under the CORSIA’s timetable, participating ICAO member states are mandated to comply with the carbon dioxide offsetting requirements by 2024 to 2026.

Mandatory compliance, on the other hand, is set for 2027 to 2035.

A stakeholders meeting was conducted last February among the DOE, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Philippine National Oil Co., and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to discuss the potential advantage of exploring SAF in the country in preparation for CORSIA’s compliance by 2027.

The EASA has also prepared a proposal for the SAF readiness evaluation for the Philippines, which is expected to be completed by December.

The DOE said the Philippines as ICAO member joined CORSIA in December 2018 through CAAP.

Section 9.2 of Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006, which establishes the National Biofuels Board, is mandated to recommend to the DOE the use of biofuel blends in air transport considering the safety and technical viability.

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