people think of alternative fuels, they often look towards the automotive
industry. Modern cars and trucks are already available that can be powered by hydrogen,
batteries, and other fuel sources such as biofuel derived from corn and other
materials. The aviation industry is also looking to “green” biofuels to power
The Air Transport Association (ATA) has announced that
the ASTM International Committee on Petroleum Products and Lubricants has given
the green light for a new jet fuel specification to push aviation biofuels. ATA
President and CEO Nicholas Calio remarks, "The committee endorsement of
this specification is significant for all consumers of jet fuel, bringing the
airline industry one step closer to widespread production of cleaner,
alternative fuels that will help meet our environmental goals while enhancing
the security and competitiveness of our energy supply."
The FAA is also pleased that the new biofuel
specification has been approved. FAA administrator Randy Babbitt said,
"This is a significant step toward a new era of greener and more
energy-independent air travel. We anticipate publication of a standard in the
next few weeks will open the door for production of commercial aviation
biofuels that can be used without changing aircraft systems or airport fueling
The new biofuel specification will allow for blends of up to a 50 percent
mixture of traditional jet fuel and 50 percent of the new biofuel produced by
feedstocks like camelina, jatropha, or algae. The ATA said in a statement,
"[The ATA has] voted to approve the addition of a new bio-derived jet fuel
annex to the alternative jet fuel specification D7566. This effectively
concludes the technical review process, allowing for final issuance of the
revised specification by August of this year."
NASA has been researching
biofuels that are made from a type of rendered animal fat.
has also been working to certify biofuels for military aircraft as well. The USAF
Globemaster III is the first military aircraft certified for biofuel
use. The Air Force noted that its 50 percent mixture of JP-8 and 50 percent HRJ
biofuel had no discernible effects on engine performance.