|COMMERCIAL AVIATION ALTERNATIVE FUELS INITIATIVE® (CAAFI®)|
2011 General Meeting and Expo builds upon gains in operational use, development and deployment of sustainable alternative jet fuels
What? The 2011 General Meeting and Expo of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative® (CAAFI®) was held November 30-December 1, 2011, at the Georgetown University Conference Center and Hotel in Washington, DC. The meeting was organized by CAAFI’s four co-sponsors in cooperation with conference organizer Kallman Worldwide, Inc. For the first time the General Meeting included an adjacent Expo with displays by 32 exhibitors including fuel producers, federal agencies, state initiatives and support service providers.
Why? Since 2006, CAAFI has been leading efforts to develop and deploy sustainable alternative fuels for commercial aviation. There has been dramatic progress since CAAFI’s last General Meeting in 2009. In the intervening years the industry has moved from alternative fuels as an aspirational concept to achieve environmental gain, security of supply, and improved economics, to the emergence of sustainable alternative fuels as an operational reality. Following recent fuel approvals, government support for deployment and the beginning of alternative jet fuel passenger flights by United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, the aviation sector is on the cusp of a major expansion of operational use of sustainable alternative jet fuels in the United States and globally. This meeting gathered global government and industry stakeholders to share progress and opportunities, and set goals and strategies for developing and deploying alternative jet fuels for commercial and military aviation building on the progress achieved to date.
Who? Registrants included over 300 invited sponsors and stakeholders representing 180+ different organizations in the aviation, fuel producer, government and research supply chain:
20 airlines and military fuel users representing a significant percentage of the 20 billion gallon annual U.S. jet fuel usage;
over 50 fuel producers and feedstock suppliers;
representatives from 19 nations on 5 continents;
15 U.S. state government and university enterprises;
approximately 30 different federal government offices from across more than a dozen government departments, agencies and the White House; and,
15 aircraft, engine and aviation subsystem manufacturers.
Keynote speakers included Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Aerospace Industries Association President Marion Blakey, former Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt, and Jim Walsh, Managing Director-Corporate Environmental for American Airlines.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack emphasized the power of collaborative efforts between non-traditional partners such as farmers and aviation. In opening remarks he announced that the Farm to Fly team, which includes USDA, Airlines for America™ (A4A) and Boeing, has completed its Farm to Fly report, which details the opportunities that sustainable alternative aviation fuels provide, notes actions taken to date and identifies concrete actions for further advances in this area. During Q&A Secretary Vilsack challenged the audience to ask our elected officials to leverage scarce resources and foster continued entrepreneurial spirit in government as well as in business, saying “this country has always succeeded when we are fearless.”
FAA announced $7.7 million in contracts to eight companies to help advance alternative, environmentally-friendly, sustainable sources for commercial jet fuel.The former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt also thanked CAAFI stakeholders for their efforts in gaining ASTM International approval of a jet biofuel blend in July and challenged them to continue efforts to approve additional jet biofuels. Details are in FAA’s press release, at: http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=13254
EPA announced addition of new fuel pathways and feedstocks under its Renewable Fuel Standards Program (RFS2), making jet fuel produced through these feedstocks/pathways eligible for Renewable Identification Numbers or “RINs.” This can serve as a revenue source for aviation alternative fuel providers – helping bring the costs of the fuels down for airline buyers. For more information, see the Direct Final Rule at http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/documents/direct-final-rule-new-fuel-pathways.pdf
Officials from the USDA, the FAA and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration’s Volpe Center introduced the feedstock readiness level (FSRL) tool a gated risk management tool that complements CAAFI’s Fuel Readiness Level. Requested by CAAFI stakeholders, FSRL can be employed to measure and track progress in feasibility and availability of the raw materials (or feedstocks) needed to produce sustainable alternative jet fuel. The tool combines aviation's system level gated project development experience with the expertise and needs of agricultural producers to accelerate availability of sustainable fuel supplies. This tool is being made available to all CAAFI stakeholders and will be posted on the website.
CAAFI Expo exhibitors interacted with Undersecretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton, AIA President Blakey, Navy Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Hicks, and former Federal Aviation Administrator Babbitt as well as U.S. airline fuel buyers and other key government and business stakeholders.
CAAFI’s R&D, Qualification & Certification, Environment, and Business Teams met to develop priorities and activities for the coming year. Each team reported out on its major goals and objectives and planned path to achieve them. The CAAFI Steering group will synthesize these and report out on planned activities in early 2012.
CAAFI is sponsored by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Airlines for America™ (A4A), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA). Additional information on CAAFI can be found at our website: http://www.caafi.org. Additional information on the 2011 CAAFI General Meeting and Expo can be found here: http://www.caafieexpo.com