Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is a biofuel with similar properties to conventional jet fuel with the advantage of a smaller carbon footprint, produced from waste materials such as cooking and vegetable oils, animal fats, wood waste, agriculture waste, and food scraps.
For the production of SAF, the waste materials are first pre-treated to remove impurities and contaminations.
Based on the composition of the waste materials, after pre-treatment, either it will be hydrodeoxygenized or hydrolyzed, followed by isomerization.
After isomerization, the obtained blend of hydrocarbons is fed into the distillation process, where after meeting the prescribed Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) quality specifications specified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D7566-22, the Sustainable Aviation Fuel is obtained.
The SAF is then blended with conventional aviation fuel in a mixture of up to 50% SAF to comply with the fuel quality specifications.
The Virgin Atlantic's historic London-to-New York flight, the first trans-Atlantic flight fueled entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), underscores the industry's push for cleaner options. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft consumed about 45 tonnes of SAF during the flight to run Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
The existing standards allow for a 50% SAF blending in commercial jet engines. Virgin Atlantic had set a milestone of utilizing 100% SAF in commercial jet engines. Also, this voyage demonstrated that the Rolls Royce engines that are in production are compatible with 100%.
But this hard work of Vergin Atlantic started in 2008. In 2008, Vergin Atlantic was the first airline to test the use of SAF in a commercial aircraft. In 2018, Vergin Atlantic operated the world’s first passenger flight using a blend of SAF and traditional jet fuel, and this year, Vergin Atlantic operate the first commercial airline to fly across the Atlantic using 100% SAF.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2050 Net Zero Carbon plan projected that the utilization of the SAF blend can aid in 65% of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions and 13% of the GHG reductions from the adoption of new technologies like renewable energy electrification and hydrogen.
The Roadmap of Ethanol Blending 2025 of India expects to have a supply of 13,500 million liters of ethanol by 2025, which is more than double the current levels, to achieve 20% blending.
However, India can produce 30 billion liters/year of sustainable ethanol from agricultural residues, solid waste, and industrial off-gases. By harnessing about 45% of the total stated production capacity, India can meet the 20% Ethanol Blending with the 10% SAF blending target.
Further, The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) already issued the Indian Standard for Bio-Jet ATF in January 2019 and also joined the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assistance Capacity Building & Training for SAFs Programme, led to the demonstration of flights using differing levels of SAF blends by all big Indian carriers.
In August 2018, a demonstration flight from Dehradun to Delhi operated by SpiceJet with a 25% SAF blend produced by the Indian Institute of Petroleum from Jatropha seeds set a milestone.
However, with the rapid growth of air travel forecast, by 2050, the share of the aviation industry's global GHG emissions could increase to 22%.
It is now crystal clear that the use of SAF must be encouraged by all relevant authorities to meet Net Zero obligations and for Indian carriers to meet their decarbonization goals.
The alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) converts ethanol from any sustainably sourced feedstock like gasifier municipal solid waste, landfill gas, crop, and forestry residues, into a stable Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (SPK), resulting in SAFs producing 95% less soot, fewer contrails, and a lower CO2 footprint.
Ecofining™ technology, the new ethanol-to-jet (ETJ) fuel process for SAF production, is an original innovation that supports the global aviation sector's efforts to reduce GHG emissions and meet SAF production targets with an abundant feedstock like ethanol.
Smart Automatic Mesophilic Kinetic Digester (SAMKD) enables the user to utilize multiple feeds of cellulose and lignin-based biomass to obtain biofuel, fertilizers, and gases along with Carbon Capture Utilization and storage (CCUS).