How sustainability fits into the future of Singapore Airport

At the recent two-day Changi Aviation Summit, Singapore’s Minister of Transport, S. Iswaran, highlighted the importance of future sustainability within Changi International Airport. Simply put, Changi Airport needs to focus on its competitiveness, efficiency and sustainability to consolidate its value for the future.

Before the pandemic, the global aviation industry contributed about 2% of global carbon emissions. And despite the slower recovery of Singapore’s aviation industry, there is no doubt that contributed emissions will continue to increase once full recovery is achieved and passed, as Iswaran pointed out:

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“Once aviation gets back to the trajectory it was on before the pandemic, you should expect emissions to continue to rise unless we do something about it.”

Thus, a plan is currently underway to mark the way forward for Singapore’s aviation sector to become greener.

The green print

Also known as the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, the plan is being developed by an international advisory group purposely created to drive development and eventual publication. Chaired by Professor Chong Tow Chong, President of the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the panel studies various aspects such as sustainability in the airport, the airline and traffic management. It also organizes in-depth workshops and identifies projects and pilots for Singapore and the region.


In addition to comprising 19 other members, including senior executives from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the panel is also divided into three sub-committees.

However, going green is not so easy due to the unknown costs required to integrate specific measures. Moving forward with sustainability could disrupt Singapore’s economic viability, which is why the International Advisory Board is a vital part of the plan. It includes a diverse range of voices to ensure the viability of new ideas, as Iswaran points out:

“There’s a lot of effort around green financing, and we want to see how we can unlock some of that for the purposes of aviation and innovation in this space towards the end of sustainable global aviation.”

Scheduled to be ready next year, the plan will include sustainable targets for 2030 and 2050 and details on how to get there, in line with Singapore’s plans to peak emissions around 2030 and halve emissions compared to their peak still 20 years later. Additionally, the plan will be supported by possible avenues that the Singapore government and the private sector can engage on.


Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong is also on the plan’s international advisory board. Photo: Getty Images

The use of sustainable aviation fuel

In addition to the master plan, Iswaran also highlighted other ways to reduce emissions from Singapore’s aviation sector, including work on aspects such as electrification, energy efficiency and operations. further study of renewable energy sources. This is particularly the case for airline operations, where Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has been the main solution to help airlines around the world reduce their emissions.

SAF comes from renewable raw materials such as cooking oil or animal fat from food waste in the case of Singapore. US oil and gas company ExxonMobil is supplying the SAF mixture and is expected to deliver it to Changi Airport via an existing hydrant system by the end of July. After that, all Singapore Airlines and Scoot flights from Changi will use a blend of refined jet fuel and SAF under a one-year pilot program. About 2,500 tonnes of carbon emissions are expected to be reduced over the year.


However, Iswaran wants Singapore to go a step further in the use of SAFs by looking at how the country can contribute to the overall use and production of SAFs, as he comments:

“It’s something that needs a systemic solution because it’s not just an airline design because you need resources, raw materials, manufacturing [capabilities], and the ability to have it delivered to the airport fuel system. It is therefore an effort that requires a level of systemic response. It’s an example of the kind of things we’re looking at.”

Singapore has partnered with the Finnish producer Neste, allowing the latter to set up in Singapore. When completed in the first half of next year, the SAF facility will be capable of producing up to one million metric tonnes of SAF, ensuring that Singapore will have the largest SAF production capacity in the world. . As for the materials needed to produce SAF, Singapore’s proximity to Indonesia and Vietnam will be a great help in recovering rice and palm oil waste.


Singapore Airlines and Scoot are expected to use the blended fuel mix from the third quarter of this year. Photo: Getty Images

The greenest line

Singapore’s small size means air travel is arguably the fastest and most convenient mode of international transport, which is why it’s important that Changi Airport strives to further leverage sustainable measures. . Eventually, the airport wants to become a hydrogen hub and supply enough hydrogen to power planes. However, the wish comes with a steep price, as hydrogen is much more expensive than natural gases and aviation fuel.

So, towards the end of last year, Changi Airport partnered with Airbus to oversee the launch of a technical feasibility study of an airport hydrogen hub and infrastructure requirements to support future operations. hydrogen aircraft. Focusing on hydrogen production, storage and distribution, aircraft ground services, logistics equipment and refueling systems, the survey results will be considered in policy making, infrastructure planning and future industry development.

Source: The Straits Times


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