Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF, is gaining traction in India as both aviation and oil companies work together to reduce carbon emissions. This effort is in line with the Indian aviation sector’s dedication to fulfilling the Government of India’s commitment made at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26), which aims to reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2070.


With India becoming the third-largest domestic aviation market in the world, it will overtake the UK to become the third-largest air passenger market by 2024, according to India Brand Equity Foundation(IBEF ).

India’s consumption of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) is expected to grow by almost 17 per cent year-on-year to 8.61 million tonnes (MT) in the next fiscal year beginning April 2023, an indication that air travel in the world’s fourth-biggest market will surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time, according to a report.

On their part, major domestic as well as global players are coming together to develop the infrastructure and further R&D.

For instance, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is building a Rs 1,000 crore ($122 million) sustainable aviation fuel plant. The plant to be built at IOC’s Panipat refinery will utilize alcohol to jet technology developed by LanzaJet.

The IOC-LanzaJet partnership:

This partnership will strengthen India’s transition to cleaner fuels and help achieve the country’s carbon reduction goal.

During the MoU signing ceremony, Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman, Indian Oil, said, “Indian Oil is the leader in India’s aviation fuel segment and as we move forward on the path to achieve net-zero operational emissions by 2046, we aim to enhance our basket of lower carbon fuels. This partnership will be another step in this direction which would accelerate India’s commitment to become Net Zero by 2070. Creating an ecosystem of SAF in India will help accelerate the energy transition and this would ensure our leadership position in the sustainable fuel segment as well.”

“As one of the largest population centres in the world experiencing rapid growth of energy consumption and travel, India is a critically important market as our world grapples with energy security, climate change, and economic growth challenges,” said Jimmy Samartzis, CEO, LanzaJet. “Our partnership with Indian Oil Corporation is key to decarbonizing the aviation industry by enabling this region of the world to have increased access to sustainable fuel alternatives through our alcohol-to-jet technology using Indian waste and ethanol sources.”

It must be noted that IOC has also signed an initial deal to boost production capacity for SAF with another biotechnology provider Praj Industries, along with biodiesel, ethanol, and compressed biogas.

What are the other stakeholders doing?

• SpiceJet operated the first flight using SAF, with a blend of 75% aviation turbine fuel and 25% bio-jet fuel made from Jatropha plants in August 2018.
• The Indian Air Force recently used SAF in their aircrafts.
• Indigo became the first international flight to be operated by any Indian carrier using SAF.
• Many enterprises including Indigo, Air India, AirAsia India and Vistara have partnered with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) to collaborate on the research and development of SAF.
• SpiceJet and the GMR group are partnering with Boeing and other companies for the development and use of SAF.

(Courtesy: WriteCanvas)
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