EA explores production of biofuel for aircraft

EA explores production of biofuel for aircraft

Global fuel consumption by commercial airlines has increased on an annual basis since 2009 and reached an all-time high of 95 billion gallons in 2019.
Global fuel consumption by commercial airlines has increased on an annual basis since 2009 and reached an all-time high of 95 billion gallons in 2019.

SET-listed Energy Absolute (EA), a renewable energy and electric vehicle developer and operator, is conducting research to convert palm oil-based biodiesel into biofuel for aircraft in a move to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of air transport.

This type of biofuel, known as "sustainable aviation fuel" or SAF, is produced from substances with chemical structures similar to jet fuel, according to EA.

The company aims to develop biofuel that can replace fossil-derived fuel, meeting jet A-1 qualifications, said Vasu Klomkliang, EA's senior vice-president for strategy development and investment planning.

Global fuel consumption by commercial airlines has increased on an annual basis since 2009 and reached an all-time high of 95 billion gallons (359 million litres) in 2019, according to statista.com.

The EU recently announced it is requiring 50% of jet fuel consumption in Europe to be blended with SAF by 2040. Aviation operators that fail to comply with the rule will be subject to a carbon emission tax.

Mr Vasu said use of biofuel for jets would significantly help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the transport sector is among the world's top three emitters of greenhouse gases.

The development of biofuel for aircraft is part of the company's plans to add value to commodity-grade biodiesel, which EA has produced for almost two decades.

The company previously produced value-added products such as refined glycerin, a feedstock for making cosmetics and personal care products, and phase change materials (PCM), which can be used as thermal barrier coating materials.

At present, EA's production capacity of palm oil-derived methyl ester is 800,000 litres per day. Methyl ester is blended with diesel to produce biodiesel.

The company's production capacity of refined glycerin is 80 tonnes per day, while it has the capacity to manufacture 65 tonnes per day of PCM.

Sales of biodiesel products accounted for 20% of EA's total revenue in the third quarter this year. The proportion is expected to further increase as the company diversifies into new businesses, said Mr Vasu.

Next year, EA plans to export PCMs to East Asia, Europe and North America after successfully entering the Japanese market.

In the renewable power business, the company's wind farms generated less electricity this year because of lower wind speeds, but the company is increasing the electricity generation capacity of its solar farms by using new solar modules to increase efficiency.

EA expects its revenue to increase by 20% this year, up from 20.5 billion baht in 2021, partially attributed to the delivery of almost 1,000 electric buses to operators, he said.

The company plans to deliver an additional 2,000 buses next year.



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