Sept. 12, 2019
An inquiry from a major business aircraft OEM led Paul Davy, manager of Port City Air at New Hampshire’s Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM), to research the possibility of his facility offering sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) derived from renewable energy sources.
Davy reported he didn’t know much about such fuels when the manufacturer asked him last fall about storing SAF for use in their aircraft. “I immediately scoured the internet for resources to educate myself about these fuels,” he said. “The best resource I found was the ‘Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel’.”
Developed by NBAA and a coalition of international aviation groups, the guide was introduced at the 2018 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland. Davy said it provided him with, “perspective on sustainable aviation fuel, and valuable information regarding its certification by most if not all business aviation aircraft and engine manufacturers.
“For example,” he continued, “I quickly learned that today’s SAF, once mixed and certified, truly is a drop-in fuel that meets all specifications of ASTM D1655.”
Davy couldn’t meet the OEM’s requested timeframe for installation of a dedicated SAF tank, but he nevertheless continued with plans to carry the fuel with the full support of the PSM airport authority and his FBO’s executive team. Those plans will come to fruition next month, with a 12,000-gallon SAF tank coming online to support operators flying through PSM.
While the tank will soon be ready, Davy is still seeking a supplier agreement to carry the fuel. He’s engaged with groups including the National Air Transportation Association, the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative and NBAA to explore possible solutions.
“It’s the chicken and the egg,” Davy explained. “I think our industry remains hesitant to embrace SAF because it’s still relatively new, and there’s a lack of awareness of its benefits. There are also just two producers currently for it in the country, neither of which are east of the Mississippi River.”
Nevertheless, Davy remains enthusiastic about incorporating SAF into his operation.
“Our location sees a lot of international tech stops between the U.S. and Europe, and those operators are concerned about their environmental footprint and their compliance with CORSIA,” he said. “We want them to know that Portsmouth/Pease is ready, willing and able to help them accomplish those objectives.”
Davy will focus on SAF as panelist participating in the overall issue of business aviation sustainability at 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). That panel will take place on the show’s opening day, Oct. 22, at 2:30 p.m.