- Advocacy & Policy
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Alternative fuels are a key part of aviation’s goal of achieving carbon neutral growth by the year 2020. At the Paris Air Show in June, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke about encouraging development and production of biofuels for commercial aircraft.
Much of the research and development of alternative jet fuels originated with the military. Earlier this year, President Obama directed the departments of Energy, Navy and Agriculture to continue to advance biofuels for fighter jets, trucks and commercial airliners as part of his plan for enabling America's energy security.
Support of military funding for R&D, as well as programs such as FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise program, are critical to continuing these fuels along the path towards commercialization. Coordination among these stakeholders is important as well. AIA and its members are an integral part of many groups including the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest and the Farm to Fly Initiative.
We must find a solution to dependence on fossil fuels sooner rather than later. Fuel expense represents a large portion of an airline’s operating cost, and with the projected fuel price increases, there will be added pressure to find an alternative. Starting in 2012, airlines that fly to and from Europe also will have to factor in the added cost of carbon dioxide emissions allowances to the cost of their jet fuel, as a result of the European Union emissions cap and trade scheme.
The aviation industry is keenly aware of the importance of biofuel commercialization, and the government appears to be taking the appropriate measures to plan for the future. Industry is making increased investments in this critical asset in order to move these fuels towards large-scale production.