PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has the opportunity to be a significant player in the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister said this was due to the abundance of feedstock for fuel manufacturing in Malaysia, such as used cooking oil (UCO) and other forms of biomass.

“In Malaysia, cooking oil is widely used, but it is later exported elsewhere to be processed as SAF.

“At the same time, both Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing hard to include palm oil as part of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (Corsia) Eligible Fuel Criteria since we are its largest producers globally,” he said at a press conference after visiting Neste’s Renewable Diesel Refinery in Tuas, Singapore, yesterday.

He added that during his visit to the refinery, he saw up to 10 types of feedstock that are used for SAF manufacturing, ranging from animal fats to UCO.

“Upon observing this, I could see how much potential Malaysia has to also produce feedstock supplies for SAF, given that we also have a lot of the said resources.

“A major issue, however, is logistical costs, whereby the feedstock has to be obtained from all across the globe.

“If we can produce such feedstock in Malaysia, it will surely benefit all parties,” he said, adding that aviation accounted for between 2% and 3% of global carbon emissions, and this could grow to more than 20% by 2050.

“The use of SAF will in turn be one way to reduce these emissions,” he said.

Dr Wee noted that SAF should be developed and deployed in an economically feasible, as well as socially and environmentally acceptable manner, in line with the intent of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) assembly resolution A40-18.

“SAF is a key lever towards achieving long-term net-zero ambitions, but it also requires a holistic approach with further research and development initiatives alongside huge investments to enhance technology.

“A shift in the regulatory environment to ensure wider and deeper adoption of SAF in the aviation industry is also needed,” he said.

He also said that given how SAF would be a main contributor to emissions reduction for international flights by 2050, it was appropriate that more efforts be put into this initiative.

“Malaysia, through the International Trade and Industry Ministry, under its newly formed National Aviation Industry Coordinating Organisation (Naico), has also established a task force to look at making the SAF initiative a reality,” he said at the event also attended by Neste’s Singapore Expansion Project director Petri Jokinen, High Commissioner of Malaysia to Singapore Datuk Dr Azhar Mohamad Mustafar and Firefly chief executive officer Philip See.

Yesterday also marked Firefly’s second passenger flight and the Malaysia Aviation Group’s fourth SAF-powered flight.

“I hope that these airlines can keep up the momentum while other (airlines) can also look into using SAF for their operations,” added Dr Wee.