Thailand aims for new national plan to promote SAF


Thai Airways announced a program for the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on a flight between Bangkok and Phuket in 2023. (Photo: Thai Airways)

Energy officials in Thailand are drafting a new national oil plan to cover the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), targeting to support the aviation industry's goal of lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is biofuel for aircraft. It can replace jet fuel because their properties are similar, while SAF emit smaller carbon footprint.

Patteera Saipratumtip, deputy director-general of the Department of Energy Business, said, “We are working on factors that can make SAF another mainstream fuel as well as support domestic production of this biofuel."

She also mentioned that an investment incentive proposal for SAF manufacturing should be completed in early 2024.

Policymakers should also consider reducing the excise tax for jet fuel to help SAF usage because its price is 2-3 times higher than conventional jet fuel, said Nathasit Diskul, president of Bangkok Aviation Fuel Services Plc. The jet fuel excise tax is 20% of the retail price. 

The International Civil Aviation Organization supports SAF usage as a way to assist its members meet a net-zero target by 2050. Many countries and international organizations have shown their support for SAF. 

The US provides a tax incentive to SAF producers, while the EU has adopted a mandate requiring a minimum portion of SAF in the aviation fuel supply, with targets set at 2% by 2025, 5% by 2030, and 70% by 2050.

Japan has set a goal for international flights passing through its airports, aiming for a SAF blending ratio of 10% by 2030. 

In Thailand, Bangchak Corp Plc and Energy Absolute Plc have announced plans to make SAF from used cooking oil. 

Thailand’s national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc announced in 2023 its subsidiary PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc teamed up with national flag carrier Thai Airways International to pilot SAF usage for a flight between Bangkok and Phuket.

PTT did not offer more details, saying only the plan involves the cooperation of various firms, including Neste, which is the world's leading producer of SAF in Finland. 

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