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 impact surface air quality and global climate while expanding domestic energy sources that diversify fuel supplies, contribute to price and supply stability, and generate economic development in rural communities. The FAA is working to enable the U.S. use of one billion gallons per year of "drop-in" sustainable alternative jet fuels by 2018. Though they are created from renewable sources, drop-in fuels mimic the chemistry of petroleum jet fuel and can be used in today's aircraft and engines without modification and provide the same level of performance and safety as today's petroleum-derived jet fuel. Sustainable alternative jet fuel development and deployment is also a key element of the U.S. Aviation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan (PDF) submitted by the U.S. to the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization.
The FAA's Office of Environment and Energy provides leadership in this evolving field through activities that support the development and use of sustainable alternative jet fuels. These include:
- The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, a forum for information exchange and coordination among government, academic and aviation industry stakeholders to address challenges and engage with the emerging alternative jet fuels industry.
- CLEEN program awards to Boeing, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce for fuel properties and performance testing and demonstration. This testing will facilitate new fuel approval by standard setting organization ASTM International.
- Alternative Aviation Fuels Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for research in four priority areas: development of novel "drop-in" alternative jet fuels, alternative jet fuel quality control, sustainability guidance for alternative jet fuel users and performance, and durability testing of new fuels.
- Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction (PARTNER) Center of Excellence projects on emissions measurement, sustainability analysis and tool development that improve our understanding of the environmental sustainability, and economic cost of production of alternative jet fuels.
- Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) provides guidance and tools to support deployment of sustainable alternative aviation fuels.
For more information, please see resources and reports organized by topic below.
Information Exchange and Coordination
Fuel Properties & Performance Testing & Demonstration to support ASTM Approval
- Impact of Alternative Jet Fuel and Fuel Blends on Non-Metallic Materials Used in Commercial Aircraft Fuel Systems CLEEN Project Final Report – Submitted by The Boeing Company (CLEEN program) (PDF)
Environmental and Economic Sustainability Analysis
- Alternative Fuels (PARTNER COE Project 17)
- Ultra Low Sulfur Fuels Cost/Benefits (PARTNER COE Project 27)
- Alternative Jet Fuels Life Cycle Analysis (PARTNER COE Project 28)
- Understanding the Relationship Between Aviation Economics and the Broader Economy (PARTNER COE Project 31)
- Alternative Jet Fuel Sustainability (PARTNER COE Project 47)
- The USAF Interagency Aviation Fuel Life Cycle Assessment Working Group "Framework and Guidance for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Footprints of Aviation Fuels" (CAAFI) (PDF)
- Report Evaluating Existing Sustainability Evaluation Programs (Volpe BAA) (PDF)
- Sustainability Criteria and Rating Systems for Use in the Aircraft Alternative Fuel Supply Chain (Volpe BAA) (PDF)
- Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model for Assessing Lifecycle Greenhouse Gases of Alternative Jet Fuel
Alternative Jet Fuel Deployment and Use
- Alternative Jet Fuel Readiness Tools (CAAFI)
- Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Projects on Alternative Jet Fuels