(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia’s flag carrier tested its first commercial flight using jet fuel mixed with palm oil to reduce carbon emissions.
The Garuda Indonesia plane flew from the capital Jakarta to Solo, President Joko Widodo’s hometown, on Friday using the J2.4 sustainable aviation fuel produced by PT Pertamina.
The government expects wider adoption of the biofuel in aviation to grow the market to about 1.1 trillion rupiah ($69 million) a year and pave way for exports. Palm-based fuel may offer a solution to the challenge of cleaning up emissions in the carbon-intensive industry, as countries around the world turn to subsidies and mandates for airlines to use less fossil fuel.
The sustainable fuel used on Friday’s flight was made by mixing 2.4% refined bleach deodorized palm kernel oil with jet fuel in PT Pertamina’s Cilacap refinery. The state-owned energy company can produce 1,350 kiloliters of the fuel a day, with plans to expand existing facilities to meet potential demand of 5 million kiloliters a year.
The fuel had been tested on a shorter flight earlier this month when the jet’s machine responded well and stayed in control. Garuda will run further trials on other types of engines, said President Director Irfan Setiaputra on Friday.
Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, is already mandating a biodiesel program for land transportation this year to increase the use of palm oil content in diesel to 35%, the highest mix globally. More use of the tropical oil in transportation would cement the nation’s position as top palm consumer and potentially limit supply to the global market.
(Updates throughout with the test flight’s completion.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.