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Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative

Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative

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CAAFI is a cooperative effort among interested stakeholders to bring commercially viable, environmentally friendly alternative aviation fuels to market. CAAFI is co-sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA), the Air Transport Association of America
Air Transport Association
Airlines for America , formerly known as Air Transport Association of America, Inc. , is America's oldest and largest airline trade association. A4A member airlines and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. Based in Washington, D.C., the...

 (ATA) and the Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

(FAA). In addition, CAAFI consists of approximately 300 non-sponsor stakeholders. These include members of other U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies and trade associations, as well as energy producers, university faculty, nongovernmental organizations and consultants. CAAFI functions as a clearinghouse, facilitating the exchange of information about and coordination of private-sector and governmental initiatives supporting the development and commercialization of "drop-in" alternative aviation fuels (i.e., fuels that can directly supplement or replace petroleum-derived jet fuels). CAAFI is also exploring the long-term potential of other fuel options.

Function and focus

CAAFI primarily serves as a means of exchanging information and coordinating stakeholder efforts. This is done through the holding of technical workshops, outreach to domestic and international aviation, energy, and financial industry forums, and communication with the news media.
CAAFI participants are evaluating alternative jet fuels in teams focused in four areas:

Fuel Certification and Qualification--to ensure the safety of any alternative fuels given the demanding environment posed by aviation operations, participants are creating a new jet fuels approval process via the ASTM International standard setting body. Fuel approval will enable the safe use of alternative jet fuels and guarantee manufacturer, user and regulatory confidence in them.

Research and Development--to improve understanding of the broad range of new fuel production technologies and feedstocks that can be applied to aviation, participants are sharing analyses and identifying and coordinating research activities.

Environment--to assess the spectrum of environmental impacts of any alternative fuel options developed, participants are working to measure engine emissions that affect air quality and quantify the full life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the fuel production process including feedstock extraction and transport, fuel processing, fuel distribution and land use changes.

Business and Economics--to facilitate the deployment of alternative jet fuels in the marketplace, participants are connecting fuel producers and consumers, evaluating the business case for use of alternative jet fuel, and identifying opportunities for deployment.

CAAFI participants meet regularly to update the state of alternative jet fuel developments in these areas, identify gaps and hurdles, and decide on next steps required in the research, development and deployment process.


Richard L. Altman - CAAFI Executive Director

Nate Brown - FAA, CAAFI Strategy & Implementation Advisor

Dr. Kristin Lewis - DOT Volpe Center, CAAFI Research & Technical Advisor

Mark Rumizen - FAA, Certification Lead

Dr. Michael Lakeman - Boeing, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Stephen Kramer - Pratt & Whitney, R&D Co-Lead

Mike Epstein - GE Aviation, R&D Co-Lead

Dr. Lourdes Maurice - FAA, Environment Co-Lead

Nancy Young - ATA, Environment Co-Lead

John Rau - American Airlines, Business & Economics Lead

Air Force Synthetic Jet Fuel Certification Program

The Air Force, which is the U.S. military's largest user of fuel, began exploring alternative fuel sources in 1999. On December 15, 2006, a B-52 took off from Edwards AFB for the first time powered solely by a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and Syntroleum's FT fuel. The seven-hour flight test was considered a success. The goal of the flight test program was to qualify the fuel blend for fleet use on the service's B-52s, and then flight test and qualification on other aircraft.

On August 8, 2007, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne certified the B-52H as fully approved to use the FT blend, marking the formal conclusion of the test program.

This program is part of the Department of Defense Assured Fuel Initiative, an effort to develop secure domestic sources for the military energy needs. The Pentagon hopes to reduce its use of crude oil from foreign producers and obtain about half of its aviation fuel from alternative sources by 2016.[1] With the B-52 now approved to use the FT blend, the USAF will use the test protocols developed during the program to certify the C-17 Globemaster III and then the B-1B to use the fuel. To test these two aircraft, the Air Force has ordered 281,000 gallons of FT fuel. The Air Force intends to test and certify every airframe in its inventory to use the fuel by 2011. They will also supply over 9,000 gallons to NASA for testing in various aircraft and engines.

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