Singapore's Green Fuel Push: Palm Oil for SAF
Palm oil, according to Acting Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat, should be considered a viable feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.
These remarks were made during a regional gathering of transport ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Chee emphasised the importance of adopting a pragmatic approach grounded in scientific evidence rather than one driven by preconceived biases and dogmas when striving for sustainable transportation solutions.
This perspective contrasts with the stance taken by the European Union (EU), which has prohibited the use of palm oil in SAF production due to its association with deforestation. Over the years, the EU has imposed various restrictions on palm oil imports, often sparking protests from Malaysia and Indonesia, the world's leading palm oil producers.
The utilisation of palm oil as a SAF feedstock has sparked controversy. While concerns persist regarding the sustainability of palm oil sourcing, it remains the most abundant feedstock. Consequently, Chee stressed the importance of establishing a scientifically validated process to determine the sustainability of SAF feedstock.
During a high-level dialogue at the 43rd ASEAN summit in Jakarta, Chee acknowledged that some feedstock options in the Asia-Pacific region may face limited acceptance elsewhere due to perceived environmental risks.
However, he noted that palm by-products and residues are recognised under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) regime, which operates under the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Singapore is set to collaborate with Boeing, the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, and other regional stakeholders to explore how ASEAN can harness potential feedstock sources in the region for SAF production.
SAF has been identified as the primary avenue for the aviation sector to reduce carbon emissions. Despite its potential, global SAF production in 2022 accounted for less than 0.1% of global jet fuel consumption, as highlighted by Chee.
He emphasised the potential for SAF production growth within ASEAN and the need for international collaboration to ensure a steady supply of SAF and its feedstock to meet the rising demand for air travel.
Source: The Business Times