Ghana missing out on US$17 billion sustainable aviation fuel market

Bio Fuel   Airlines have also entered into US$17 billion of forward-purchasing agreements for SAF.

Sun, 26 Jun 2022 Source: aviationghana.com

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says Ghana and other African countries must urgently put in place large-scale incentives to encourage the production and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

In 2021, airlines purchased every drop of the 125 million litres of SAF that was available, irrespective of the fact that SAF was between two and four times the price of conventional jet fuel.

Airlines have also entered into US$17 billion of forward-purchasing agreements for SAF.

Waste and residue raw materials are currently used in the production of SAF, while the use of vegetable oils, agricultural and forest harvesting waste and residue, algae, and municipal solid waste among others, according to experts, are viable raw materials.

In Ghana and many West African countries, the raw materials for SAF production such as: cooking oil, plant oils, wood chips, treated straw, algae, municipal waste, waste gases and agricultural residue, are largely available.

IATA’s Director–General, Willie Walsh, interacting with African journalists attending the just-ended 78th IATA AGM in Doha, called for investment in the technology by African governments to benefit from the US$17billion SAF market.

“I think this is a huge opportunity for Africa countries, because you no longer have to rely on oil on the ground to extract it. You can now develop sustainable aviation fuel, for which there is huge demand, through multiple feedstocks. You have to invest in the production capacity and refining capacity, but this is an opportunity to reduce your dependence on imported oil, generate jobs in the manufacturing and refining of sustainable fuels, and to improve environmental performance,” Mr. Walsh said.

There are more than 100 oil marketing companies in Ghana. The majority of state-owned GOIL and all others import all of Ghana’s jet fuel (aviation fuel), despite the existence of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), for use by domestic, regional and international airlines servicing the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

Mr. Walsh noted that given the projected demand for SAF in the next 10-20 years, it is a huge investment opportunity for African countries. “There is no risk here, airline industry need sustainable fuel; it is the only way we can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. So the demand for this product is huge. As we go through the next 10 to 20 years, demand is going to increase. People are looking at opportunities to make investments; I think this is a great opportunity.”

For nearly two decades, Ghana has experimented with the production of plant-based sustainable fuels mainly from the Jatropha plant. The technology developed so far, has been only able to produce bio diesel for use by small scale agro processing machines.

The setting up of waste treatment plants in Accra and Kumasi by the Jospong Group of Companies holds a lot of promise for Ghana to venture into the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The raw materials—organic and in-organic waste—abounds in a country struggling to contain and properly dispose or reuse the millions of tons of municipal waste across the country.

Extant studies show that in Ghana, about 12,710 tons of solid waste is generated daily. The capital city, Accra, generates as much as 15,000 tons of solid waste per day. A research on the waste composition of Ghana’s solid waste in 2020 show that it is predominantly organic (60%), plastic (14 %), paper (5%), metals (3%) and glass (3%)

Indeed, the start of the generation of organic fertilizer out of the segregated organic waste at the Jospong Group’s waste treatment plants in Accra, holds a lot of promise for future SAF production.

Mr. Walsh says the incentives used in encouraging the switch from fossil fuels to renewables like solar, should be employed in encouraging SAF production in Africa. “Governments don’t need to invent a playbook. Incentives to transition electricity production to renewable sources like solar or wind worked. As a result, clean energy solutions are now cheap and widely available.

With similar incentives for SAF, we could see 30 billion liters available by 2030. Though still far from where we need to be, it would be a clear tipping point towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices,” he said.

Net Zero and Long Term Aspirational Goal

In October 2021, IATA member airlines came together and took the monumental decision to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

This commitment brings the industry in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal.

Climate change is the greatest threat facing our societies and achieving net zero emissions will be a huge challenge as the expected scale of the industry in 2050 will require the mitigation of 1.8 gigatons of carbon.

This climate goal is critical to back up the industry’s decarbonization ambitions and would provide a global multilateral framework for action without distorting competition.

Source: aviationghana.com
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