THAI, PTT, AEROTHAI and Boeing Move Ahead with the “Aviation Biofuels Sustainable Project”


Thai Airways International Public Company Limited  (THAI) together with PTT, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (AEROTHAI) and The Boeing Company have joined forces to develop aviation biofuels in an effort to reduce global warming and reduce the risk of rising future petrol costs. The government sector is urged to support this effort through to its implementation.  The collective vision for Thailand’s aviation and the environment are being discussed at the “Thai Aviation and Environmental Workshop – Biofuels and Efficient Flight Operations” on 20 – 21 March at Plaza Athenee Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel. In addition,  PTT’s role  in developing alternative fuel and its policy to support aviation environment business will be discussed.

Squadron Leader Alongot Pullsuk, Vice President, Aviation Resources Development Department, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited, said that THAI aims to  develop biofuels as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment to help reduce the greenhouse effect and climate change.  As climate change increasingly affects the world and airline industry, THAI began to investigate the potential of sustainable biofuels in 2005 by consulting with the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to drive the project forward.
On 21 December 2011, THAI in conjunction with AEROTHAI, PTT, Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited, Rolls-Royce Company Limited, SkyNRG, and The Boeing Company organized “THAI’s First Flight with Biofuels”. On 22 December 2011, THAI operated “The First Passenger Biofuels Flight in Asia” from Bangkok to Chiang Mai as the first commercial biofuels flight in Asia.
“THAI intends to gain support from the government sector to support biofuels development and reduce biofuels tax, in addition to establishing a central unit that will be responsible for driving forward sustainable biofuels development through to implementation in five years. The assistance of many sectors is required to produce biofuels from agricultural crops that do not disrupt consumable crop farming. The project’s eventual success will aid in reducing fuel investment cost that are forecasted to increase every year.  Producing biofuels in Thailand even at a minimal amount will help reduce the impact on Thailand once fossil-fuel based petrol prices increase in the future.”
Dr. Suchada Butnak, Senior Researcher, Research and Technology Institute, PTT Public Company Limited, said that PTT in conjunction with Chulalongkorn University and Thammasat University have researched and developed alternative energy and biofuels since 2007.  Laboratory tests have been conducted on oil made from palm and jatropha curcas and used oil, with gradual increase in the quantity experimented. PTT is currently waiting for production volume to be great enough to be tested by the American Society of Testing and Materials or ASTM.
Mrs. Ratanavalee Inochanon,   Vice President Petroleum Product and Alternative Fuels Research Department PTT Public Company Limited, noted that PTT  has a clear working direction in Green Innovation and trust in alternative energy development for national energy security. As Thailand is rich on raw materials used for biofuels production and the goal has been set to reduce pollution as well as GHG emission, the country has a very high potential to produce aviation biofuels for use by airlines flying into Thailand. Producing locally will help to reduce investment costs for aviation biofuels, making it more feasible for airlines to use.

PTT has joined with THAI to develop sustainable biofuels and is conducting research to produce aviation biofuels from suitable raw material as well as developing the production process in order to make high quality aviation biofuels.

PTT is also part of the committee responsible for conducting research and development for use of aviation biofuels in Thailand.  The successful development of aviation biofuels depends on combined efforts of several parties, including THAI and PTT, that must work together to reduce greenhouse gases.  Furthermore, a clear Government policy must be established to support the use of aviation biofuels in Thailand, in addition to use of biofuels with land transport. The Government’s full support will aid in establishing Thailand as the aviation biofuels hub in Asia that will provide aviation biofuels for airlines with flights arriving in Thailand.

Assistant Prof. Dr. Sutkhet Nakasathien, Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, added that the university is part of pioneer efforts to research raw materials and agricultural products that are needed to produce biofuels.  The university also worked with other organizations to produce alternative energy and make operational plans.  This process will encourage people to reduce energy consumption while agricultural crops such as jatropha curcas, palm, tapioca, sugarcane and coconut are being tested for biofuels production.  Consideration should be taken regarding the quality of these crops, volume sufficiency whether it is a food source, worthiness, and whether the amount of biofuel produced will be sufficient enough.
“Various agencies have worked separately on biofuels in the past, causing problems.  Therefore, a central unit needs to be established to lead biofuels development for a concerted effort. These issues will be discussed in the workshop.”

Squadron Leader Prajak Sajjasophon, AEROTHAI President, said that AEROTHAI’s vision is to be a safe aviation organization that conducts aviation services that is well-surpervised, with modern management, with concern for reduction of carbon dioxide gases in aviation business”. AEROTHAI has endorsed  projects that support  the environment, including Performance-Based Navigation (PBN),   Bay of Bengal Cooperative Air Traffic Flow Management System (BOBCAT), Continuous Descent Operation (CDO) and Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions Project (ASPIRE).
AEROTHAI has introduced satellite aero navigation technology, Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), with the objective of increasing efficiency and safety in aero navigation.  PBN makes aviation management more efficiency and safe and also reduces carbon dioxide emissions.  It reduces aviation costs and helps reduce environmental impact.  PBN has been installed at Phuket International Airport, Hat Yai International Airport, Chiang Mai International Airport, and Samui Airport.  AEROTHAI also plans to install PBN at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Furthermore, AEROTHAI has a project called the Bay of Bengal Cooperative Air Traffic Flow Management System (BOBCAT) which provides aero traffic flexibility in Kabul territorial air space, enabling flights to and from Europe in this territorial air space to be efficiently operated and reduce delays.  This process proves that airlines are able to achieve savings on their petrol bill by accomplishing a lower delay rate that results in reduced carbon dioxide emissions.  As a result, AEROTHAI received Jane’s ATC Award – Enabling Technology in 2011.

The “Thai Aviation and Environmental Workshop – Biofuels and Efficient Flight Operations” is the first seminar of its kind to he held in Thailand.  The first day of the seminar focuses on alternative fuel, with various aviation agencies presenting their visions and environmental policies.  The panelists participating in the seminar are a representative of Dr. Norkhun Sitthiphong, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Energy, Dr. Pailin Chuchottaworn, Chief Executive Officer and President of PTT, Mr. Aphinun Vannangkura, Executive Vice President and Acting Vice President of Air Traffic Management, AEROTHAI President, Dr. Rhett Jefferies, Program Manager, FAA,  Mr. Skip Boyce, President of Boeing South East Asia, and Dr. Jaroon Meesomboon,  Aviation Ground Safety Expert, Thai Department of Civil Aviation.  Guest speakers include aviation biofuel specialists from The Boeing Company, SkyNRG, Neste Oil Corporation Company, World Wildlife Fun (WWF), as well as specialists from United Airlines, Rolls Royce Company and GE Aviation.
The second day of the workshop will focus on two topics, aviation biofuels from farm to flight and efficient aviation operations.  Government policy concerning the planting of energy crops and alternative energy will be discussed amongst scholars and the private sector, followed by talk concerning Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) Fuel and Fisher – Trossch aviation biofuels production processes.  The carbon dioxide cycle of aviation biofuels will also be evaluated.  Panelists participating in this discussion include representatives from the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Kasetsart University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology of North Bangkok, Directorate of Aeronautical Engineering of the Royal Thai Air Force and National Metal and Materials Technology Center as well as PTT’s Research and Technology Institute.

The reduction of carbon dioxide emissions for efficient flight operations and the development of an aviation traffic management system will be discussed in a session conducted by Airways Corp New Zealand, The Boeing Company, United Airlines, AEROTHAI, and THAI.

“All parties involved in this workshop have agreed that Thailand has high potential to be an aviation biofuels producer, with the support of the Government and other organizations.  Each organization concerned must participate and take necessary actions for aviation biofuels production.  As there is currently no aviation biofuels production facility in Thailand, importing aviation biofuels will incur a high cost.  Therefore, local production of aviation biofuels will help reduce fuel costs for airlines operating in Thailand, and encouraging use of aviation biofuels will help reduce the greenhouse effect and global warming.”


Source = Thai Airways International
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