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Honeywell doubles down on China unit

By ZHU WENQIAN China Daily Updated: 2022-03-16
Honeywell's booth is seen during the fourth China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Honeywell International, a major US supplier of aerospace products, said it will continue to enhance its research and development and production capabilities in China, and also take technologies and products developed in China to overseas markets.

Such efforts will be in line with Honeywell's "East for East" and "East to Rest" strategies, it said.

Honeywell and Chinese firm Oriental Energy Co Ltd recently announced that they would together build the world's largest sustainable aviation fuel-SAF-production facility in Maoming, Guangdong province. The annual output capacity of the facility is expected to reach 1 million metric tons.

The new facility, set to be the world's largest SAF production project with used cooking oil and animal fat as feedstock, will help facilitate greenhouse gas emission reductions in aviation fuel production and support China's goals to reduce carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, according to the two companies.

Honeywell will blend cooking oil and animal fat with petroleum-based jet fuel at commercial scale. When used in up to a 50 percent blend with petroleum-based jet fuel, SAF requires no changes to aircraft technology and meets all critical specifications for flights. Using such a feedstock helps reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 percent compared with traditional fuels, Honeywell said.

"Honeywell is confident about business prospects in China and has been continuously expanding investment and growing with our local partners," said Steven Lien, president of Honeywell Aerospace Asia-Pacific.

"Reducing carbon emissions is the mission of every industry. Based on such a large scale of fleet in China, any effort and achievement will greatly contribute to the country's carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals," he said.

Oriental Energy, a major propylene producer and liquefied petroleum gas distributor in China, said SAF currently represents an important and feasible solution to reduce aviation greenhouse gas emissions.

"By taking advantage of our existing petrochemical industry chain, we will build a new petrochemical production base to enable the mass production of SAF in China, contributing to greenhouse gas emission reductions in the aviation sector and China's carbon neutral goals," said Wang Mingxiang, chairman of Oriental Energy.

China will strive to build an eco-friendly development system for its civil aviation industry, further emphasizing the importance of technological innovation for realizing the country's decarbonization goals, according to the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for civil aviation development that was jointly issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Transport in January.

China has established a national carbon trading system, promoting voluntary carbon emissions credit trading among domestic entities. Next, the aviation sector, along with iron and steel, will be included in China's carbon trading market.

"Global carriers are expected to show a higher demand for new aircraft in the next two decades. Exploring and improving various methods for energy-saving and carbon emission reduction remains a highly challenging task, as the number of aircraft constantly increases," said Yu Zhanfu, partner and vice-president for China unit at consultancy Roland Berger.

Meanwhile, Honeywell made significant progress in China over the past year. At the beginning of 2021, Sichuan Airlines selected a type of auxiliary power unit-APU-of Honeywell for its 93 new A320 aircraft, and replaced the APUs on its 141 existing A320 aircraft, which makes it the largest APU retrofit deal in Honeywell's history.

The company has been continuously expanding its investment in China, especially in the emerging market in central and western China. The regions represent two of the country's future growth engines. In early 2020, Honeywell launched its emerging market headquarters and innovation center in Wuhan, Hubei province.

"Our growth in China continues to be robust with a strong market position. China has developed into Honeywell's second-largest single market and the company's largest growth market. We are optimistic about China's economic growth and believe the importance of the China market will grow further," Lien said.