Blending Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in ATF from 2027

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Blending Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in ATF from 2027 Blog Image

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in News?
  • What is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO)?
  • What is the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)?
  • What is the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC)?
  • What is the ATF and SAF?
  • NBCC’s Recent Decision on SAF

Why in News?

  • The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) has set the initial indicative targets for blending of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with aviation turbine fuel (ATF), setting the stage for the eventual implementation of mandatory blending.
  • The decision is in line with the mandatory phase of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which will take effect from 2027. 

What is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO)?

  • The ICAO is a specialised agency (est. in 1947) of the UN that coordinates the principles and techniques of international air navigation. Its headquarters are located in Quebec, Canada.
  • It fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

What is the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)?

  • CORSIA is a global market-based measure designed to offset international aviation CO2 emissions in order to stabilise the levels of such emissions.
    • CORSIA, which does not apply to domestic aviation, would require airlines globally to offset any growth in carbon dioxide emissions beyond the 2020 levels.
  • Offsetting of CO2 emissions will be achieved through the acquisition and cancelation of emissions units from the global carbon market by airplane operators.
  • In 2018, the ICAO adopted Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to implement CORSIA under the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

What is the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC)?

  • NBCC was constituted (in 1960) under the Chairmanship of Minister, Petroleum & Natural Gas to provide overall coordination, effective end-to-end implementation and monitoring of biofuel programmes.
  • NBCC has been active in the implementation of many projects in areas such as Institutional, Housing, Industrial and Environmental, Transportation, Power, etc.
  • Various public welfare projects have also been undertaken and completed by the business, though not using CSR money.

What is the ATF and SAF?

  • Jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines.
  • ATF is a mixture of a variety of hydrocarbons. Because the exact composition of jet fuel varies widely based on petroleum source, it is impossible to define jet fuel as a ratio of specific hydrocarbons.
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)is a fuel that is produced from sustainable feedstocks and has chemistry similar to conventional ATF, which is derived from crude oil. Its carbon footprint is significantly lower than ATF.
  • A committee on SAF constituted by the petroleum ministry had recommended an initial SAF blending mandate of 1% from 2025, and scaling it up over subsequent years in phases.

NBCC’s Recent Decision on SAF

  • Based on the comments received from the stakeholder, the capacities of SAF plants and projected ATF sales, the following initial indicative blending percentages of SAF in ATF are approved:
    • 1% SAF indicative blending target in 2027 (initially for international flights), and
    • 2% SAF blending target in 2028 (initially for international flights).
  • Using jet fuel blended with SAF is one of the ways through which carriers can keep their emissions under permissible levels.
  • India, while not a participant in the voluntary phases of CORSIA, will have to comply with the mandatory phase starting 2027.
  • While the government appears to be moving towards announcing SAF blending mandates for Indian carriers, excessive technology and production costs to manufacture SAF is a major concern for airlines.
  • It remains to be seen whether the government would roll out any support or incentives for airlines and SAF manufacturers to make the fuel affordable.

Q1) What is the Convention on International Civil Aviation?

The Chicago Convention (also known as the Convention on International Civil Aviation), established the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel.

Q2) What is the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) in India?

The EBP seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers.


Source: Govt panel sets indicative targets for blending sustainable aviation fuel in ATF from 2027