Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) - Articles and news items
Issue 2 2011 • 11 April 2011 • Mark Rumizen, Aviation Fuels Specialist in the Aircraft Certification Division, Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)
In the early afternoon of 7 January, 2009, a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 airliner lifted off the tarmac of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with a blend of biofuel and conventional petroleum-derived fuel feeding one of its two CFM International jet engines. This event, along with three similar demon stration flights by Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines, and KLM marked a major step forward in addressing one of commercial aviation’s most pressing concerns. The airlines need sustainable alternative fuels to address a myriad of environmental and economic challenges, and these flights demonstrated that they could soon have what they want.
Issue 3 2010 • 9 June 2010 • Heather Haskin, Programme Manager, United States Air Force Alternative Fuels Certification Office (AFCO) & Mark Rumizen, Aviation Fuels Specialist, Aircraft Certification Division, FAA.
An aviation first: As part of the United States Air Force (USAF) long-term energy vision, the Alternative Fuels Certification Office (AFCO), consisting of a small cadre of systems engineers and managers, was formed to develop and execute repeatable processes to identify viable fuel candidates and certify them for fleet-wide operations. These activities require substantial collaboration with the fuels experts at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Air Force Petroleum Agency (AFPET), and the Defense Energy Support Centre (DESC). The AFCO is nearing completion of its original objective of certifying a 50/50 blend of its traditional JP-8 and Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (JP-8/SPK) by 2011. The synthetic component of this blend is derived using the Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) process that converts coal, natural gas, or biomass to fuel. Concurrently, the AFCO has undertaken a newer initiative to certify all platforms on a 50/50 blend of JP-8 and Hydro-processed Renewable Jet fuel (JP-8/HRJ), biofuels derived from plant or algal oils or animal fats, by 2013.
Issue 2 2010 • 5 April 2010 • Richard L. Altman, Executive Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI)
2009 showed the first signs of an emerging trend. Authorities certifying, airlines buying, and airports hosting new sustainable alternative fuels sources.
In a keynote address at the September 30, 2009 meeting of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI) in Washington, DC, Air Transport Association Chairman and UAL Corp. CEO Glen Tilton emphasised, "... there clearly is a market (for aviation alternative fuels). There are buyers. There is certainly interest."
In the Nov 07’ issue, International Airport Review readers were introduced to the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI). CAAFI’s genesis, its structure and its accomplishments were listed. Readers were left with the question “Will aviation be the last to wean itself from petroleum fuel or will it be a “first mover” to a very different future?”
Until the last few years, alternatives to jet petroleum based aviation fuel for commercial aircraft were, at best, an afterthought to energy suppliers and the aviation industry. The collective wisdom of airlines, airports, aircraft manufacturers and government organisations such as the FAA in the US, had been that aviation would consume the last drop of oil used in transportation and that all other transportation modes would switch to alternatives first. They predicted that the transition would occur long after stationary energy users (utilities) switched. Even if aviation sought to pursue alternatives to Jet A or its military equivalent JP8, the market for aviation fuel (less than 10% of overall demand) was too small to influence energy suppliers and distributors. The need to pursue alternatives in aviation was not apparent.