In 2023, India’s sustainable aviation fuel could be ASTM certified

  • The Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) has generated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from cooking oil and oil-bearing plants using indigenous technology.
  • SAF samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Clearinghouse in the United States for testing in order to achieve the ASTM D4054 qualification from ASTM International.

Concerning ASTM certification

  • ASTM International is a global standards organisation that creates and publishes technical standards for a variety of materials, products, systems, and services.
  • It is situated in the United States and was previously known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • Over 30,000 people from more than 140 countries are members of the organisation, which includes scientists, engineers, and industry professionals.
  • Construction, petroleum, medical devices, and consumer products are among the industries covered by the standards.

ASTM Certification for SAF

  • ASTM D4054 and ASTM D7566 are two standards relating to aviation fuel.
  • ASTM D4054 specifies the criteria for qualifying aircraft turbine fuels.
  • ASTM D7566 specifies the specifications for certifying commercial aviation fuels.

Use of SAF

  • The Indian Air Force gained preliminary certification in November 2021 to employ SAF on test flights, subject to approval by the aircraft manufacturer involved on a case-by-case basis.
  • However, it has yet to be internationally certified for use in India’s commercial airlines.

SAF production in India

  • Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd is constructing the first SAF plant, which is scheduled to open in early 2025.
  • Other refineries, however, are projected to build two more SAF facilities by 2025-26.
  • The Mangalore Refinery can generate 20 tonnes of SAF every day, which equates to around 7,000 tonnes per year.
  • However, in order to achieve even a 1% blending of SAF in India, around 60,000 tonnes per year are necessary.

Way forward

  • Demand for bio-jet fuel must be increased through a national policy, similar to the National Biofuel Policy, in order for it to be commercially scaled and production to accelerate.
  • A nodal organisation should be established to implement this programme, bringing together the energy, transportation, and agriculture sectors under one roof.
  • Mapping the sources of different feedstocks could help with this policy.
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