Business aviation plays an important role in the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program, a series of government-industry partnerships designed to identify and implement environmental technologies aimed toward building on the operating efficiency of commercial turbine-powered aircraft. One prominent example of this work is the industry’s significant progress toward adopting viable and efficient, “drop-in” renewable-source alternatives to petroleum-based Jet A.
In 2013, NBAA joined with other industry groups and government stakeholders to launch the “Farm to Fly 2.0” initiative, which is aimed at developing viable, sustainable biofuel fuel supply chains in the U.S. to support an annual production goal of 1 billion gallons of alternative-sourced Jet A for aviation use by 2018. NBAA also is one of more than 300 members of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), which is dedicated to demonstrating the aviation industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship by creating a carbon-neutral air fleet by the year 2020.
To date, alternative jet-fuel blending agents for commercial flight have utilized feedstocks from plants, plant and animal oils, biogas or biomass and conversion of sugars derived directly from plants or from hydrolyzed biomass. Future sources of these blending agents include other oils, sugars, cellulose and industrial waste.
Depending on the feedstock and approved conversion methodology, the resulting fuel is often blended with conventional Jet A (ranging from a 10- to 50-percent mix) to produce drop-in alternative fuels, though successful tests have also been conducted using 100-percent biofuel alternatives to Jet A.
Once approved, these alternative fuels require no changes to maintenance and operating practices, or flight crew training procedures. Tests conducted by industry stakeholders, including manufacturers of business aircraft and engines, also have demonstrated improvements to fuel burn, and notably reduced carbon-dioxide emissions.
Alternative Fuels Resources
FAA Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels
Commercial aviation faces fuel cost, environmental and energy security challenges that arise from petroleum-based jet fuel use. Sustainable alternative jet fuels can help to address these challenges. Their use could reduce emissions that affect air quality and the global climate while expanding domestic energy sources that diversify fuel supplies, contribute to price and supply stability, and generate economic development in rural communities. Read more about the FAA’s ongoing research and support for alternatives to Jet A.
CAAFI: The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative
CAAFI seeks to enhance energy security and environmental sustainability for aviation through alternative jet fuels. CAAFI is a coalition that focuses the efforts of commercial aviation to engage the emerging alternative-fuels industry. It enables its diverse participants – representing all the leading stakeholders in the field of aviation – to build relationships, share and collect data, identify resources, and direct research, development and deployment of alternative jet fuels. Learn more about this joint industry effort to adopt and utilize viable biofuels.