CAAFI meeting brings progress on a roadmap to address the future viability of alternative jet fuels
Richard L. Altman, Executive Director, CAAFI
Tue 16 Sept 2008 – A two-day summit held last week in Washington by the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) brought together national and international representatives from the aviation industry, fuel suppliers, research institutions and government agencies to advance the commercial aviation sector closer to implementing commercially viable, environmentally friendly alternative jet fuels.
The purpose of CAAFI’s Business and Economics Team meeting, co-sponsored by the Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the FAA Office of Environment and Energy, and the US Department of Commerce, was for alternative fuel producers, suppliers and airline fuel buyers to both strengthen relationships and also address the technical and approvals challenges posed by alternative jet fuel deployment.
CAAFI is an international coalition of aircraft, engine and equipment manufacturers, airlines, airports, fuel suppliers, universities, NGOs and government agencies, and its mission is to “enhance energy security and environmental sustainability for aviation through alternative fuels”.
Amongst the 130 participants at the forum were:
·26 energy producers, primarily biofuel companies and current jet fuel producers;
·20 fuel buyers from individual airlines, airline groups and airline alliances;
·13 government agencies engaged in alternative energy research, development, funding and/or implementation;
·major aircraft and engine manufacturers; and
·aviation financial services and infrastructure support (for example, pipeline companies).
Richard Altman, Executive Director of CAAFI, said the event had “resulted in a step increase in the volume and quality of dialogue between airline buyers and energy producers both through networking discussions and separate individual meetings between ATA airlines and fuel suppliers.
“In addition, we saw the beginnings of teaming among the Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) producers, which we see as a critical facilitator in achieving ‘generic’ approvals of this fuel type that will be critical to building a meaningful volume of competitive offerings.”
Altman reports CAAFI is currently refining roadmaps for industry and others to advance the deployment of environmentally friendly (i.e. with emissions sequestration) coal/biomass to liquid (CBTL) synthetic blends produced by the Fischer Tropsch process, as well as hastening the potential of environmentally friendly HRJ fuels (derived from plants such as jatropha) and biofuels from algae and other feedstocks. A report is due to be published and disseminated to sponsors and stakeholders before the end of the year.
He says further environmental life cycle analysis of alternative fuels would be discussed at a meeting of CAAFI’s Environmental Team scheduled for October 21.