Japan focuses more on SAF technology

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Japan’s campaign to cut greenhouse gas emissions is reaching for the skies as the government aims for airlines to replace 10% of their jet fuel with more environmentally friendly alternatives by 2030.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) is made from waste, biomass or waste materials. Although they generate 70% to 90% less carbon dioxide than conventional jet fuel, they can cost up to 10 times more to produce.
The government plans to set up a public-private committee to consider specific measures to encourage Japanese companies to manufacture and use these fuels.
National production should be key to the government’s strategy. Importing SAF would generate carbon dioxide emissions during transportation, reducing the benefit of switching to greener fuel, and the possibility of price spikes also poses an increased risk to economic security.
Efforts in this direction are already underway in the private sector. Engineering firm JGC Holdings and oil wholesaler Cosmo Oil plan to start SAF’s first commercial production facility in Japan in 2025, producing up to 30,000 kiloliters of fuel per year.
IHI and Electric Power Development, or J-Power, are working on making SAF from microalgae, with the goal of bringing it to market around 2030.
JERA, an equal joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, has partnered with Mitsubishi Power and Toyo Engineering on a plan to turn woody biomass into fuel.
Airlines used a total of 63,000 kl of SAF globally in 2020, equivalent to less than 1% of all jet fuel consumed that year. Supply in Japan, where production is still in the trial stage, only reached around 300 liters in 2021.
The Japan Transport and Tourism Research Institute estimates that Japan could theoretically produce between 7.06 million kiloliters and 13.13 million kiloliters of SAF per year by 2030, depending on whether materials such as biomass are reused for this instead of producing electricity.
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