Earlier this week, three airlines under the Tata Group umbrella signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP). Air India, AirAsia India, and Vistara all signed the Memorandum to learn more about sustainable fuels and flight operations.

Air India aircraft on a runway. City skyline partially visible in background.
Air India joined alongside sibling airlines AirAsia India and Vistara in the commitment to a more sustainable future | © Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon

Indian Airlines Sign MoU Alongside Sustainable Research Organisation

The signing brought together five key officers to represent each organisation: Mr Siddharth Sharma (Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Tata Group), Mr Niyant Maru (CFO, Vistara), Mr Campbell Wilson (CEO and Managing Director, Air India), Mr Sunil Bhaskaran (CEO and Managing Director, AirAsia India) and Dr Anjan Ray (Director, CSIR-IIP)

According to a statement released by Air India, the main goal of this MoU is to conduct research into Single Reactor HEFA technology. ‘HEFA’ stands for Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids, which comes under the umbrella of sustainable air fuel pathways. In the future, using this type of fuel could lead to a significant decrease in carbon emissions for long-haul flights.

The airlines have recognised the effects of using the current petroleum-derived fuel and how their usage has a strong link to climate change.

Air Asia plane flies through blue skies.
Long-haul flights could produce fewer carbon emissions with HEFA fuel | © Venkat Mangudi

Long-Haul Flights with Tata Group Airlines to Become Decarbonised

The research into sustainable air fuels is a primary mission for the CSIR-IIP. Based in Dehradun, the organisation aims to develop research that will aid India in its steady growth towards a more sustainable future. Their research in the hydrocarbon sector will be used by the airlines to undertake drop-in fuels (fuels that can be used in existing fleets without altering their interiors) in the future.

“CSIR is 65 years old and was built by Dr. Bhatnagar to meet the challenges of that time. I would like to build the new CSIR that will fulfil the aspirations of modern India.” – Shri Narendra Modi, Honourable President of CSIR

What are your thoughts on this recent collaboration? Let us know in the comments below!

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