EU Excludes Palm Oil and Soybean from Qualification for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

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EU Excludes Palm Oil and Soybean from Qualification for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Photo by: Pertamina

PALMOILMAGAZINE, BRUSSEL – On September 13, 2023, Members of the European Parliament (MEP) reached a consensus on a new regulation aimed at enhancing the terms and conditions for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) within the European Union (EU).

This regulation, integral to the ReFuelEU initiative and encompassed in the Fit for 55 packages, is designed to achieve a minimum reduction of 55 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and strive for net-zero emissions by 2050. This decision marks a significant step forward in supporting a more sustainable source of aviation fuel.

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Following the adoption of the initial regulation draft in July 2022 and the announcement of a political agreement on the ReFuelEU proposal in April 2023 by the European Parliament, the official approval now imposes an obligation on airports and aviation fuel suppliers across the continent.

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They are required to ensure that a minimum of 2 percent of aviation fuel is designated as ‘environmental’ by 2025, with a phased increase up to 70 percent by 2050.

As quoted from Ethanol Producer, the regulation would determine kinds of source to be used in aviation fuel. Synthetic fuel, biofuel from agricultural and forest residue, algae, natural waste, used palm cooking oil, certain vegetable fats, and jet fuel from gas and plastic wastes that were recycled would be taken as ‘environmental’. Unfortunately, palm oil and soybean are not qualified in ‘sustainable’ criteria and banned to be used in the program.

ReFuelEU program would cover the introduction of aviation performance label that would start in 2025. Every airline company can market their label that shows carbon track per passenger and efficient CO2 per kilometer. This is about to deliver information for them about environmental performance from the aviation operated by many airlines.

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Meanwhile, palm oil industries particularly in Malaysia responded that they have side products, for instance, palm oil mill effluent (POME) and palm oil fatty acid distillate (PFAD), as the sources for sustainable aviation fuel.

Though some protection lobbies are against palm oil use in aviation industries globally, including aviation test proposed by Boeing, SAF would be used as fast as it could by using palm oil side products as the materials. (T2)

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