The Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI®) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary working toward sustainable jet fuels. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) helped found the coalition a decade ago to promote the development and deployment of alternative jet fuels that sustainably reduce lifecycle carbon emissions and local pollution around airports. These innovative new fuels also improve energy security, minimize fuel price volatility, and enhance rural development.
“Ten years ago, people said we could not fly on renewable fuels, but since then, we have made tremendous progress in developing sustainable alternative jet fuels,” said Lourdes Maurice, Executive Director of the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy. “Today, flights are leaving Los Angeles Airport with renewable fuel blended in the tanks and each gallon of renewable fuel is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. CAAFI has been instrumental to the industry’s present success and will support future advances.”
The FAA founded CAAFI with other initial sponsors, including Airlines for America (A4A), the Airports Council International-North America, and the Aerospace Industries Association. Established in 2006, CAAFI now has more than 800 participating members and 450-organizations. Together, these stakeholders include airports, fuel producers, airlines, aerospace companies, other government agencies, and leaders in the development and deployment of commercial aviation alternative jet fuels.
In CAAFI’s first few years, CAAFI members worked with industry to establish processes to include alternative jet fuel pathways in the industry’s fuel specifications.
“We have a defined process that has reduced the fear of the unknown and commercialization risk, leading to the approval of five new alternative fuel pathways [since 2009],” said CAAFI Certification/Qualification Team Lead and FAA fuel expert, Mark Rumizen.
Over the past decade, CAAFI and the FAA have played key roles in developing, researching, testing and gaining ASTM International approval of the five alternative jet fuels. ASTM is the aviation fuel industry’s qualification organization. Additional ASTM task forces are currently working on the approval of a half dozen more fuel production pathways. In support of these newly-approved alternative jet fuels, CAAFI also has developed an array of evaluative tools and resources for new fuel producers.
CAAFI is also involved in fostering airline and fuel producer agreements. This year, United Airlines became the first U.S. airliner to use a commercial-scale, sustainable aviation biofuel for regularly-scheduled flights.
The FAA has complemented CAAFI efforts with the work of the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment (ASCENT), and the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program in partnerships with aircraft makers, jet engine manufacturers and engineering firms. To find out more about CAAFI go to www.caafi.org and follow CAAFI on Twitter at @caffiaviation.