Recent News

The CAAFI Environment Team hosts its first SOAP-Jet webinar by Mark Staples on future AJF production and GHG reduction potential


20 June 2016--The CAAFI Environment Team held its first Seminars on Alternatives to Petroleum – Jet (SOAP-Jet) webinar on Friday, June 10th. The event was well attended by 75 people. The June 10th webinar was the first of what will be a series of webinars that will communicate progress and challenges associated with greenhouse gas and sustainability evaluations of alternative jet fuels. The SOAP-Jet webinar series is intended to provide a forum for members of the alternative jet fuel community to share lessons learned, methodologies, and strategies in order to promote knowledge and communication among stakeholders.

Mark Staples (MIT) gave the first presentation, “Short- and long-term global alternative jet fuel production potential and associated GHG emissions benefits.” In November 2013, the International Civil Aviation Organization Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection convened the Alternative Fuels Task Force (AFTF). AFTF was tasked with evaluating the range of potential GHG emissions reductions from the use of alternative fuels for aviation to 2050. Mark summarized the methods developed by AFTF to carry out this analysis, and the findings from the work. In addition to potential fuel production volumes and emissions reductions, the rate at which new alternative jet fuel production facilities would need to be constructed, and the associated capital expenditures, in order to achieve different levels of aviation GHG emissions reductions by 2050 were also quantified.

To access the slide deck from this SOAP-Jet webinar, go to the CAAFI Presentations page.

Additional presentations will be scheduled for the second half of 2016.

Alaska Airlines and Gevo partner for first commercial alcohol-to-jet alternative fuel flights


9 June 2016 – On June 7, 2016, two commercial Alaska Airlines flights departed Seattle-Tacoma Airport fueled by 1,500 gallons of alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel made by Gevo, Inc., blended at 20% with petroleum based jet fuel. These flights represent the first-ever commercial flights on the recently qualified fuel, which was approved by the aviation industry in April 2016 through their alternative jet fuel standard-setting activities within ASTM. The flights flew to San Francisco International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The ATJ fuel was produced from starch from field (non-edible) corn after the animal feed components were separated out. Using non-edible components of traditional crops can provide additional revenues for farmers while addressing concerns about the potential impacts of biofuel production on food price and availability.

Gevo’s ATJ conversion process can utilize sugars and starches that originate from multiple sustainable sources, including agriculture, silviculture, and industrial process waste streams. Alaska Airlines also anticipates flying a demonstration flight on Gevo ATJ fuel produced from sugars derived from saccharification of forestry residuals (slash piles from forest harvest, chips or sawdust from timber production, and residues from pulp and paper processing) through a project with Washington State University’s (WSU) Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). The WSU NARA team also participates in the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment, with which CAAFI collaborates closely.

See more about these first commercial flights here.

LanzaTech Named #13 on CNBC’s 4th Annual "Disruptor 50" List


8 June 2016 – LanzaTech, a company changing the game for carbon recycling through the development of sustainable fuels and chemicals, made CNBC’s fourth annual “Disruptor 50” list! Companies included in this high-praise list represent forward thinking entities that are disrupting established industries and public companies to create a new market paradigm. LanzaTech made the list at #13 for its use of waste gases in the production of fuels and chemicals and was chosen from a group of over 750 nominated companies.

LanzaTech has been pursuing the development of sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF), and is an active collaborator with CAAFI®. “The CAAFI community holds LanzaTech’s CEO, Dr. Jennifer Holmgren and her team, in high regard for their vision, passion, and leadership in the burgeoning renewable fuels industrial sector,” commented Steve Csonka, CAAFI Executive Director, while also reflecting favorably on their active involvement with other leading entities in the sector.

LanzaTech is engaged with CAAFI in the Farm 2 Fly 2.0 (F2F2) public-private-partnership effort to develop sustainable alternative jet fuel supply chains and production in different U.S. states and regions. The company is also pursuing ASTM International qualification of its alternative jet fuel pathway and was a recipient of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration funding to assist with biofuel production scale-up and fuel testing. For more information on LanzaTech and its place on the CNBC Fourth Annual Disruptor List, see the official “Disruptor 50” list and the LanzaTech website.

Cathay Pacific’s Successful A350-900 Flight from Toulouse to Hong Kong on Alternative Jet Fuel


3 June 2016 – On May 29, 2016, Cathay Pacific Airways completed the longest biofuel flight to date – 12 hours on 80 tons of 10% alternative jet fuel – departing from Toulouse, France and landing at Hong Kong International Airport. The flight took place on a 325 seat Airbus 350-900, a model that is estimated to be about 25% more fuel efficient than other commercial aircrafts of its kind. And this isn’t the only Cathay Pacific flight making this biofuel journey – all future Cathay Pacific flights from Toulouse to Hong Kong over the next two years will be fueled with 10% alternative jet fuel. A prominent goal of these flights is for the industry to become more familiar with the use of biofuels in aviation and encourage the same adoption by other airlines. Total/Amyris, the producer of the 10% alternative jet fuel blend (farnesane) used in the flights, ships the farnesane from Brazil, where it is produced, to France where it is blended with conventional jet fuel and certified for use in jets.

See more information on Cathay Pacific’s future biofuel flights here.

DOE and USDA Announce Biofuels, Bioenergy, and Biobased Products BRDI Grant Awardees


10 May 2016 – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) jointly awarded around $10 million in funding for projects that advance biofuels, biobased products, and bioenergy through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI).

DOE awarded up to $3 million in funding to the Ohio State University (OSU) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for selected projects. The projects will focus on the cost effective production of biofuels and bioenergy from cellulosic biomass to advance the economic feasibility of biorefinery fuel production. CAAFI plans to work closely with OSU on its “Biomass Gasification for Chemicals Production Using Chemical Looping Techniques” project, an endeavor that hopes to develop syngas from biomass in just one step, reducing the cost of syngas production. This is a unique project that has the potential to significantly reduce costs and improve the efficiency of gasification of biomass. The MIT project will focus on “Improving Tolerance of Yeast to Lignocellulosic-derived Feedstocks and Products.”

USDA BRDI funds ($7.3 million) were awarded to the University of California-Riverside, University of Montana, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Dartmouth College, and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. These projects vary in scope and topic, though they will all work to encourage more efficient biofuel production.

For more information on selected applicants and projects, refer to the DOE and USDA announcements.