USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Monday signed a five-year agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to continue development of a viable biofuel for the aviation industry. The agreement announced at the Advanced Biofuels Summit in Maryland.
The renewedagreement, which includes partners from the commercial aviation sector, follows the initial success of the 2010-2012 "Farm to Fly" initiative. Through the agreement, the federal government and its partners hope to support the annual production of 1 billion gallons of drop in aviation biofuel by 2018.
Vilsack said the agreement would create jobs and economic opportunity through the production of 'drop-in' aviation fuels from renewable feedstocks. Vilsack added that the agreement would "develop a thriving biofuels industry that will benefit commercial and military enterprises."
LaHood noted that through the use of sustainable alternative jet fuels, the U.S. is showing the world that it can come together to solve environmental challenges.
"In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called on us to work together to reduce carbon emissions - developing these alternative jet fuels will do just that, while creating jobs and helping airlines save money on fuel," LaHood said.
The renewed agreement focuses on goals from previous agreements between the Airlines for America, Inc., the Boeing Company and USDA's Regional Biomass Research Centers which include designating personnel, evaluating current and potential feedstock types and systems, developing multiple feedstock supply chains, developing state and local public-private teams, communicating results, and issuing periodic reports.
Previous projects also include a USDA and the FAA joint partnership to develop aviation fuel from forest and crop residues and other "green" feedstocks. Under this partnership, the agencies combined their experience in research, policy analysis and air transportation to explore the different kinds of feedstocks that could be processed by bio-refineries to produce jet fuels.
The USDA and FAA also developed the Feedstock Readiness Tool for the airline industry to track progress on the development and availability of agricultural and forest feedstocks that will be used to produce renewable jet fuels. The FSRL can identify gaps in aviation biofuel supply chains due to delays in the development of the feedstocks to supply a particular conversion process, or the development of a fuel conversion process as a market for a feedstock.