South Korea’s SK Innovation lays the groundwork to boost production of green aviation fuel

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SK Innovation aims to acquire life cycle analysis capability

Local refiners aim to increase green jet fuel share to 7%-10% by 2024

Korean Air expected to increase green jet fuel purchases from refiners

South Korean company SK Innovation has acquired official qualifications to verify greenhouse gas emissions under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Program for International Aviation, or CORSIA, paving the way for the country’s top refiner to accurately assess GHG emissions in the production-consumption cycle of aviation fuel and stimulate production of environmentally friendly jet fuel.

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With the exception of China, most Asian countries are emerging from their respective COVID-19 lockdown phases, with international borders rapidly opening for quarantine-free air travel.

Jet fuel demand and production are back in focus and demand for environmentally friendly aviation fuel would also gain popularity, say middle distillate marketers from SK Innovation and other major refiners. South Koreans at S&P Global Commodity Insights April 11-14.

SK Innovation said its Institute of Environmental Science and Technology has become Korea’s first CORSIA verifier for the petroleum and refining industry, enabling it to verify greenhouse gas emissions for international flights.

SK Innovation can now verify greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with CORSIA and the company plans to additionally acquire Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA, capability to ensure objectivity and transparency in the calculation GHG emissions during the production phase and aviation fuel consumption, the top South Korean refiner said in a statement.

The company said LCA is a methodology that comprehensively assesses environmental impact by quantifying the inputs and outputs of a product’s life cycle, and even measures its potential impact on the environment. .

“We plan to complete the LCA of all products of SK Innovation’s subsidiaries, including battery materials, to help achieve the company’s ‘Carbon to Green’ strategy, laying the foundation for ‘a green transformation,’ said Seong-jun Lee, the head of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology.

South Korea produced 97.2 million barrels of jet fuel in 2021. The country’s refining industry is on track to produce about 135 million barrels of aviation fuel in 2022, about 80 percent of the 171 million barrels produced before the COVID-19 outbreak in 2019, according to middle distillate marketers at three major South Korean refiners surveyed by S&P Global.


These major refiners aim to increase the share of environmentally friendly products to around 7% to 10% of global aviation fuel production over the next three years, through the adoption of these fuels by several airlines. in South Korea and throughout Asia, according to Middle Distillate Traders.

“Thanks to the CORSIA and LCA capabilities, SK Innovation can not only calculate the greenhouse gases emitted during the production of aviation fuel, but also have much more precision and transparency in the evaluation of emissions during the consumption,” SK Innovation said in a statement.

SK Innovation has indicated that it will complete the implementation of the ACL system during this year.

“It will quantitatively assess the environmental impact of all production activities of SK Innovation and its subsidiaries, from crude oil and raw materials to production,” Lee said.

Partnership with airlines

In September 2021, South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air used carbon-neutral jet fuel produced by SK Innovation’s SK Energy refining unit for a period of one month on a trial basis.

Korea Air had said the airline would increase its purchases of green jet fuel for additional, longer-term routes, in line with global efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of air travel.

SK Innovation said it calculated the amount of GHG emissions in the aviation industry and suggested measures to reduce them. The company has implemented a system that helps Korean airlines achieve environmentally friendly competitiveness.

In 2017, Korean Air became the country’s first airline to use sustainable aviation fuel, SAF, for an international flight by testing it on a flight from Chicago to Incheon.

Besides SK Energy, Korean Air has also partnered with Hyundai Oilbank in 2021, for the manufacture and consumption of SAF.

In Korea, nine airlines, including Korean Air, participate in CORSIA.

Every year, these companies submit the annual greenhouse gas emission report and verification report to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport regarding their international flight service, and any company whose emissions exceed the limit purchases credit to offset requirements.


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