DOE affirms commitment to sustainable aviation fuel for the aviation transport decarbonization

In pursuit of adopting alternative fuels in the transport sector particularly in the aviation industry, the Department of Energy (DOE) is collaborating closely with the country’s aviation sector and international partners to decarbonize commercial aviation industry through the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

SAF is 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. In the Philippines, one potential feedstock for SAF is coconut oil (CNO), which is also used for biodiesel production.

Alongside this, the DOE 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 CO2 off-setting requirements by 2024-2026 while the mandatory compliance was set for 2027-2035. The Philippines as ICAO member joined CORSIA in December 2018 through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Likewise, Section 9.2 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006 which establishes the National Biofuels Board (NBB) is mandated to recommend to the DOE the use of biofuel blends in air transport considering the safety and technical viability.

In February 2023, a stakeholders meeting was conducted among the DOE, CAAP, Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) 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.

EASA has also prepared a proposal for the SAF readiness evaluation for the Philippines, and it is expected to be completed by December 2023.

“The use of SAF is intended to reduce the carbon footprint associated with aviation operations. This alternative fuel source, derived from renewable feedstock, holds the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while ensuring the highest safety and performance standard,” Undersecretary Alessandro Sales said.

“As a commitment to creating a sustainable aviation transport sector that will contribute to the broader national efforts towards a low-carbon future, the DOE is working to establish the necessary framework and regulations to support the adoption of SAP,” Undersecretary Sales added. ###