Sept. 23, 2021

A Sept. 23 webinar previewed next month’s Business Aviation Sustainability Summit at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) with an enlightening look at the federal government’s support for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to reduce lifecycle aviation CO2 emissions over conventional Jet-A.

“On Sept. 9, the White House gathered a roundtable on sustainability in aviation, and general aviation groups had an opportunity to participate in that very important meeting,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Today we will build off of some of the important work that was done.”

Carol A. (Annie) Petsonk, principal deputy assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), highlighted a collaborative memorandum of understanding between DOT and the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture to promote SAF adoption.

“Each agency has particular expertise in different areas to do with sustainable aviation fuel, so that we can work toward a joint goal of enabling 3 billion gallons of [SAF] in the near term and work toward the goal of supplying all of aviation’s needs by 2050,” she said.

To that end, DOE is working to expand existing SAF feedstocks and identify additional renewable sources that may be used, through collaboration between national laboratories and biochemical research facilities with feedstock processors and other commercial entities.

“We’ve articulated a decade-long strategy,” said James Spaeth, systems development and integration program manager for the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office. “Our goal is to have at least four to five successful demonstrations by 2030 of new technology pathways … that are not in commercial production.”

Widespread SAF adoption complements other initiatives to reduce aviation emissions, noted Kevin Welsh, executive director of the FAA’s Office of Environment & Energy, such as the Sustainable Flight National Partnership between the agency and NASA to demonstrate airframe and propulsion technologies that are 30% more efficient than today.

On Tuesday, Oct. 12 at NBAA-BACE, the Business Aviation Sustainability Summit will include a lunchtime session hosting several industry innovators working to make business aviation more sustainable. That will be followed by afternoon panels regarding incentives to expand SAF production and availability and other proactive measures to improve sustainability of business aviation flight operations.

To further promote SAF adoption, “we need you to be advocates,” Petsonk said. “When you have customers who are interested in flying on sustainable aviation fuel, let us know. You can work to publicize those trips and make it vivid to people.”

Moderator Tim Obitts, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association, further noted SAF will be available for the first time to aircraft flying into Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) for NBAA-BACE, as well as Henderson Executive Airport (HND).

Learn more about the Business Aviation Sustainability Summit.

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