New Center of Excellence to receive $40 million FAA funding for alternative jet fuels R&D and environmental goals
Tue 17 Sept 2013 – The FAA is to provide $40 million over 10 years towards a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for alternative jet fuels and the environment. The public-private programme will be led by Washington State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and will explore ways to meet the environmental goals that are part of the NextGen upgrade to the US air transportation system. Core partners include 14 other universities and the team will focus on goals for noise, air quality, climate change and energy, with areas of study to include new aircraft technologies as well as sustainable jet fuels. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the FAA’s goal was to improve the energy efficiency of the National Airspace System by at least two per cent per year, with a target of one billion gallons of alternative jet fuel in use by 2018.
The FAA’s COE programme is a cost-sharing research partnership between academia, industry and the federal government and the FAA anticipates providing this new COE with $4 million a year for each of the programme’s 10 years.
“This innovative partnership supports President Obama’s national plan to address climate change,” announced US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Center of Excellence will tap talented universities to help us take environmentally friendly, alternative jet fuel technology to the next level. Airlines and their customers will both benefit from their work developing cleaner fuel that supports the environment and continued aviation growth.”
The selected universities all have nationally recognised collegiate environmental and aviation-related education programmes, says the FAA. Research projects will be performed through a partnership of senior scientists from these universities, which will also engage both graduate-level and undergraduate students in their research activities.
The COE industry and other organisational partners include a range of airlines, aerospace manufacturers and biofuel companies such as Airbus, Boeing, GE, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Gulfstream, Pratt & Whitney, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Gevo, Honeywell UOP, LanzaTech, Metron Aviation, NREL and the US DoD - AFRL.
Air Transportation Centers of Excellence were authorised by Congress under a 1990 Act that enables the FAA to work with universities and industry partners to conduct research in airspace and airport planning and design, environment and aviation safety, as well as to engage in other activities to assure a safe and efficient air transportation system. The FAA has established COEs with more than 75 universities conducting research in a number of other topic areas, including aircraft noise and aviation emissions mitigation.