Garuda Indonesia plans to start using locally-sourced aviation biofuel from 2016 as part of government target
Garuda 777-300ER at Boeing's Everett Delivery Center
Mon 1 Sept 2014 – As part of a national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from air transport, state-owned airline Garuda Indonesia has confirmed it is targeting a two per cent use of biofuels in its jet fuel consumption from 2016 and three per cent from 2020. The airline burns around 1.8 billion litres of jet fuel annually, which is expected to rise to 2 billion in 2016 as a result of an increase in passenger traffic and additions to its aircraft fleet. However, Garuda’s Director of Operations Capt Novianto Herupratomo said last week the commitment was heavily dependent on the availability of locally-sourced palm oil that is currently being laboratory tested. The Indonesian government unveiled its Green Aviation Initiatives for Sustainable Development last year, which includes targets for reducing emissions through a combination of fleet renewal, airport initiatives, air navigation improvements and the use of alternative fuels.
Following a government sponsored workshop held last week of stakeholders in the aviation biofuel initiative, Novianto said Garuda would soon undertake a demonstration flight using a crude palm oil based biofuel and hoped biofuel could be produced on a large enough scale for the price to be roughly the equivalent of conventional jet fuel.
Indonesia is the world’s largest producer and consumer of palm oil, providing around half the world’s supply. According to Wikipedia, as of 2012, the country produces 35% of the world’s certified sustainable palm oil although there is little enthusiasm from Western airlines for using the controversial commodity as a sustainable jet biofuel.
The two per cent biofuel target is mandated across all Indonesian airlines. Aircraft numbers in the country have increased from 962 in 2008 to 1,319 by the end of 2012, with passenger traffic rising from 41.5 million to 77.2 million last year. In line with growth of around 15% per year for domestic flights and 20% in international flights in recent years, Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is expecting next generation fleet growth of 10% on average per year, coupled with an estimated 92 million passengers by 2015 and 172 million by 2020.
“The direct consequence will be an increase in energy consumption (aircraft fuel) by an average of 12% per year for domestic flights and an average of 8% per year for international flights, which will certainly have an impact on the increase in carbon emissions,” said a report presented by Indonesia to the ICAO Assembly last September.
As part of a presidential commitment to actively participate in and contribute to global climate change mitigation, the DGCA and the Ministry of Transportation entered into an agreement with ICAO to help the country tackle emissions from its civil aviation sector. Following the holding of the International Green Aviation Conference 2013 (IGAC-2013), Indonesia has initiated policy, strategy and implementation measures on alternative fuels for domestic and international operations for the 2016-2020 period.
Based on its growth forecast, the government has estimated the potential emissions reduction by implementing a 2% usage of alternative fuels would reach between 323,000 and 379,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in the 2016-2017 period, rising to between 583,000 and 729,000 tonnes in the 2018-2020 period. The potential accumulation of carbon emission reductions up to 2020 is therefore in the region of 2,725,000 tonnes of CO2, roughly contributing the equivalent of 17% of total emissions reductions across the country’s air transport sector.
In its report to the ICAO Assembly, the Indonesian government estimates that around $500 million will be needed to get the necessary commercial production of alternative fuels off the ground. This is made up of $10 million towards funding the pre-implementation programme, with $40 million required for technology transfer programmes, studies, research and development, testing and certification, as well as the implementation of MRV and a commercial feasibility study including a risk assessment. It assesses the finance necessary for production and distribution of the required fuel at around $400 million and construction costs of the plant are put at $50 million.
Such funding, says the report, should come from a consortium of contributors including regional and national governments, the private sector, and international support funds and climate finance.
Following a memorandum of understanding signed in December 2013 between the Indonesian transport and energy ministries, a working team has been formed made up of 14 institutions from government, the aviation industry, fuel producers and researchers. The agriculture ministry has been tasked with providing plantations to supply the palm oil.
“The programme to mitigate emissions in the country’s air transportation sector is in line with global plans to increase energy efficiency, both through technology improvements and operational efficiency,” the transportation ministry’s Director General for air transport, Santoso Eddy Wibowo, told the Jakarta workshop last week.