The movement toward the introduction of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has become active in Japan as well. ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines (JAL) have already introduced some overseas SAF, but JGC Holdings (JGC HD) and Cosmo Oil have announced that they are aiming for the first commercialization of bio-aviation fuel in Japan. In addition to this, the Japanese government will start considering infrastructure development to store hydrogen fuel and supply it to the aircraft. (Chart reprinted from Cosmo Oil news release, overview of bio-jet fuel manufacturing supply chain model development)


JGC HD, Cosmo Oil, Revo International (HQ:Kyoto City), JGC HD's domestic EPC operating company JGC has recently announced that it will produce bio-aviation fuel in Osaka Prefecture from 2025, aiming for the first commercialization in Japan. It is said that it was adopted as a public offering project in the bio-jet fuel production technology development project of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).


Four business entities such as Nikki HD will have business study costs for the start of biojet fuel production and supply, equipment design and construction costs for biojet fuel production facilities, demonstration operation and utility supply costs, and waste cooking oil as a raw material. NEDO will provide support for availability and research costs.


Through this business, they will accelerate business development for building a bio-jet fuel supply chain, aim to operate and supply bio-jet fuel production facilities by 2025, promote reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and sustainably. It will lead to the formation of a recycling-oriented society.


Against the backdrop of aviation demand forecasts, where SAF is expected to expand in the future, measures to prevent global warming by reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have become an urgent issue for the aviation industry, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The introduction of bio-jet fuel is regarded as indispensable as one of the countermeasures.


On the other hand, the Government of Japan has recently begun to develop infrastructure to store a large amount of hydrogen at the airport and supply it to the aircraft in order to aim for the practical application of hydrogen as an aircraft fuel. Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, etc. is also installed in August, the Review Conference made up of public and private sectors, legal reform toward the realization of a hydrogen fuel aircraft to prospect the fall, cost estimates toward facility maintenance, safety measures, terrorism It is said that issues such as preventive measures will be sorted out.


The reason why the Japanese government and companies are accelerating the movement toward the introduction of SAF is that they are aware of the leading Western companies in this field. Information on SAF of overseas aircraft companies has been transmitted since the beginning of this year.


In January of this year, Boeing announced its ambitious goals for the introduction of SAF by 2030 to lead to sustainable commercial flight. The company has repeatedly conducted test flights using SAF as an alternative to fossil fuels to address climate change issues. In response to the global trend of decarbonization, it seems that the introduction of 100% SAF has been accelerated.


At the same time, KLM Airlines of the Netherlands also announced the "SAF Program". By renaming the KLM biofuel program that it has been working on to the SAF program, it seems that the aim is to remind domestically and internationally of the attitude of working on the introduction of SAF. 


KLM's biofuel program started in 2012 with participation from ABN AMRO and Schiphol Group etc. Although SAF can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) by 85% compared to jet fuel, it is said to be expensive in terms of cost, and how to solve this has been an issue.


Meanwhile, Essar Oil announced in late February that it had begun working with Stanlow Terminals, a subsidiary of Fulcrum Bioenergy, to introduce SAF. The company plans to invest about £ 600 million and start production later this year with state-of-the-art equipment installed in the suburbs of Reno, Nevada, USA. The Stanlow project will create 800 new jobs.


In April, France's TotalEnergies began producing SAF made from cooking oil at a domestic biorefinery. For TotalEnergies, which aims to be carbon-neutral by reducing CO2, the development of SAF is positioned as one of the strategic businesses.


The reality is that SAF development is not a one-company initiative, but a nationally-backed project, and the battle for hegemony in the sky is expected to become even more fierce in the future.


Jiro Arihara

Global Commodity Watcher