US airlines and military form strategic alliance to leverage growth and commercialization of alternative aviation fuels
DESC Commander Rear Adm. Kurt Kunkel and ATA CEO James May sign alternative fuels alliance agreement
Fri 19 Mar 2010 – The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) and the US Defense Logistics Agency’s Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) today signed an agreement to advance the development and deployment of commercially viable, environmentally friendly, alternative aviation fuels. The partners will aim to leverage their collective purchasing power to encourage suppliers to bring commercial aviation alternative fuels into the market place. Collaborative teams composed of ATA and DESC representatives will be formed to focus on three areas: Environment, Deployment and Logistics, and Contracting and Finance.
“By collaborating, we reinforce our commitment to fostering the widespread commercialization of alternative jet fuel,” said James C. May, President and CEO of ATA. “In the evolving landscape of alternative energy, it is in our collective interest to see aviation at the forefront.
“The airline industry and the Department of Defense collectively require more than 1.5 million barrels of jet fuel per day. By combining our talents and experience, we are better positioned to explore cooperative market engagement for fuel, improve the financial prospects for alternative fuels infrastructure, accelerate fuel certification efforts and refine our methodology for determining environmental impacts.”
May said that the Environment Team will identify common methodologies for life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions for alternative aviation fuels. The Deployment and Logistics team will identify locations or regions suitable for alternative fuels production and deployment, as well as means of distribution to and from those locations. The Contracting and Finance team will jointly publicize supply opportunities, explore opportunities for complementary fuel-supply agreements and develop compatible pricing and finance mechanisms.
The agreement stipulates potential fuels meet four key criteria:
·must comply with appropriate ASTM safety and fuel quality standards for aviation turbine fuels;
·must provide environmental benefits and, specifically for DESC, must comply with Section 526 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007;
·must be a drop-in fuel, compatible with existing fuel storage, transport and logistics infrastructure; and
·must be economically feasible and potentially competitive with respect to petroleum products.
The DESC is responsible for the end-to-end supply chain management of petroleum products for the Department of Defense, with a mission to provide effective and economical energy solutions worldwide. It is a member of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI).
Under a US Air Force mandate, by 2016 half of all fuel purchased for the continental US fleet must be purchased domestically from alternative fuel sources. The air force and navy have a number of engine and flight tests planned for mid-2010 using biofuels produced from tallow and camelina.
“Development of alternative fuels as an energy solution to our customers and the commercial aviation industry is still in the initial stages, but actions such as this alliance will make those potential solutions a reality as we work together and leverage our capabilities,” said DESC Commander Rear Adm. Kurt Kunkel. “We have outstanding, committed goals for alternative fuel and renewable energy in the future, but reaching our goals is a team and collaborative effort – no-one can do it alone. This strategic alliance is creating one of those teams and we are happy to be part of it.”
The alliance teams are to participate in two conferences in April and May in which they expect to meet jointly with alternative fuel suppliers to discuss projects across the US.
May added: “Today’s announcement is a key step forward in a long-standing relationship of collaboration between our nation’s airlines and the military, and this alliance will generate tangible, long-lasting benefits for the entire country.”