Archived News

Vertimass Awarded $2 M Grant from DOE to Commercialize Technology that Converts Ethanol to Jet Fuel Blend Stocks

3 December 2014—On Monday, Vertimass announced that they have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy of up to $2 million. The grant was awarded to aid the company’s work to improve and demonstrate catalyst technologies that provide commercially viable and sustainable transportation fuels that are compatible with the current transportation infrastructure. Vertimass, with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is focused on more efficiently converting ethanol into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel blend stocks. The technology could also expand opportunities to convert additional quantities of ethanol produced from diverse conversion technologies and feedstocks, including plant sugars (sweet sorghum, sugar beet, cane), and cellulosic biomass, in addition to corn starch. To read more click here.

CAAFI R&D Team kicks off its second SOAP-Jet webinar series focusing on the co-processing of biofuels within existing refinery systems

17 November 2014-- On Friday, November 14th, the CAAFI R&D Team kicked off its second Seminars on Alternatives to Petroleum – Jet (SOAP-Jet) webinar series, focusing on the co-processing of biofuels within existing refinery systems, with an emphasis on the applicability of this approach to producing aviation biofuels. John Holladay of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory presented on, “Refinery Integration of Renewable Feedstocks”.

The presentation provided an overview of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) investment in this sphere, the efforts of the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium to include new modeling tools for assessing the value of bio-derived streams in petroleum refineries, and technology advances from PNNL for converting highly oxygenated bio-derived streams into hydrocarbon fuels which cover the range of gasoline, jet and diesel fuel.

The event was attended by over 90 people.

To access the slide deck from this SOAP-Jet webinar, follow:
Link to “Refinery Integration of Renewable Feedstocks” SOAP-Jet webinar.

The webinar series is intended to provide a forum for information sharing and member participation in cutting edge R&D topics related to alternative jet fuels. Additional presentations will be scheduled for the first half of 2015. To learn more about the SOAP-Jet series or to share your ideas for future SOAP-Jet webinars, contact Kristin Lewis (

Boeing-COMAC Partnership Converting Cooking Oil to Jet Fuel to Evaluate Large Scale Potential

6 November 2014—Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) have partnered on a demonstration facility to convert waste cooking oil into jet fuel in Hangzhou, China. This project, the China-U.S. Aviation Biofuel Pilot Project, is expected to assess the feasibility and cost of producing a high volume of sustainable aviation biofuel to meet the increasing demand for air travel by a growing Chinese population while meeting the industry’s carbon emissions reduction goal. The partnership anticipates that the fuel produced from the pilot facility will meet the hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) Annex of the ASTM Specification D7566 for alternative jet fuels, which has already been internationally approved and used in commercial flights. The companies are estimating that up to 500 million gallons of sustainable jet fuel could be produced annually from waste cooking oil in China. Read Boeing’s press release on the project here.

Southwest Airlines Announces Purchase Agreement with Red Rock Biofuels

24 September 2014—Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, a CAAFI member, has announced today an agreement with Red Rock Biofuels to annually purchase three million gallons of alternative jet fuel made from woody biomass. It is expected that the low-carbon renewable fuel will be incorporated as a blend with conventional jet fuel in Southwest’s airplanes originating from San Francisco airports starting in 2016. This announcement demonstrates the continued engagement of the airlines in facilitating the development and commercialization of sustainable alternative jet fuel. It is also another clear example of the work being undertaken by the aviation enterprise, behind the scenes, to develop supply-chains and stimulate cost-effective fuel production, from a broad range of renewable resources, and from a variety of producers and regions. Read more here.

DPA Title III Phase 2 Awards Announced: $210 M for 100 M annual gallons of Military Spec Biofuels

22 September 2014 –The United States Navy, DOE and USDA announced today their award of $210 million targeting the annual production of 100 million gallons of drop-in biofuels. The funding was made possible under the Defense Production Act (DPA) and given to Emerald Biofuels, Fulcrum BioEnergy and Red Rock Bio. This award signifies the continuation of the DPA’s Biofuels Production Project that was first announced in 2012. The companies will use the funds to build three biorefineries with the capacity to annually produce 100 million gallons of military-spec jet fuel and marine diesel—much more than the DPA’s initial funding announcement indicating the goal of building a 10 million gallon biorefinery. The 100 million gallons of biofuel is expected to reduce emissions by 50 percent, cost the U.S. military $3.50 or less per gallon--competitive with petroleum-based fuels -- and be available as soon as 2016. Read more about the DoD’s latest commitment to drop-in biofuels here.

CAAFI Pointed to as Model Initiative to Facilitate UK's Long-Term Goals for Sustainable Aviation Fuels

9 September 2014—The industry group Sustainable Aviation has published Sustainable Aviation Fuels – Fuelling the Future, a discussion paper, stating they are now confident that sustainable, carbon neutral fuels have the potential to cut UK aviation carbon emissions more than previously thought. According to Sustainable Aviation, airlines have taken significant steps to utilize alternative fuels to help cut emissions, but industry stakeholders believe the investment needed to achieve significant alternative fuel usage will only come to fruition if the government moves to reduce investor risk by actively supporting technology development. The report notes that right now, the available alternative aviation fuels cost more than fossil fuels. As a result, the group is calling on the government to communicate long-term goals for sustainable aviation fuels, and establish programs to assist the sector with achieving their goals. The group suggests a public-private sector task force modelled on CAAFI to develop such a plan.
Read the full paper here.

CAAFI Welcomes DOE to Farm to Fly 2.0

15 August 2014--At the recent BIOMASS 2014 conference, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson of the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that DOE will join Farm to Fly 2.0, the second phase of an ongoing effort initiated by CAAFI and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote the deployment and use of homegrown drop-in alternative aviation fuels. DOE has a longstanding interest in the development of biofuels and other alternative fuels, and their participation in Farm to Fly 2.0 further solidifies that interest and support. Their commitment to Farm to Fly 2.0 greatly strengthens the alternative aviation fuel initiative. Read more about the recent announcement on the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy blog.

GOL First to Fly Commercially on Amyris-Total Jet Fuel

8 August 2014--Last week on July 30, 2014, Brazilian airline, GOL, made the first commercial flight with the newly ASTM-certified, Amyris-Total alternative aviation fuel. GOL’s Boeing 737 flew from Orlando, Florida to Sao Paulo, Brazil with a blend of Amyris-Total’s farnesane, which can improve local air quality near airports and cities by reducing particulate matter emissions. Additionally, farnesane can achieve an 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction relative to petroleum fuels. At this time, farnesane can be blended up to 10% with conventional jet fuel. For more information about the flight, see the press release and video on Amyris’ website.

CAAFI Welcomes Two New Team Leads

24 July 2014--CAAFI welcomes Rob Myrben (A4A - Airlines for America) as co-chair of the CAAFI Business Team, and Gurhan Andac (GE Aviation) as tri-chair of the CAAFI R&D Team (see their bios on the Leadership page). CAAFI would like to thank the departing R&D Team tri-chair lead Mike Epstein of GE Aviation for all his contributions over the past several years. CAAFI is also thankful to John Heimlich, Vice President and Chief Economist at A4A, for co-chairing the Business Team for the past two years. John continues to recognize the growing importance of airline engagement in the alternative fuels space, and was key in creating the new role at A4A (Senior Managing Director – Fuel Optimization) that enables Rob Myrben to provide enhanced focus and leadership to the CAAFI Business Team. John remains an engaged thought-leader for CAAFI through his participation with the CAAFI Steering Group.

“Farm to Fly 2.0” State Initiatives Making Progress

14 July 2014--The first half of 2014 was a period of significant successes on the East Coast relating to the "Farm to Fly 2.0" (F2F2) initiative, an agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue to work together to advance the use of renewable fuels in the aviation industry. Three projects in Vermont and South Carolina have received particular media attention over the last week. Projects in both states are funded by the USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG).

In Vermont, GSR Solutions President Anju Dahiya and her team released the RBEG outcomes of a fuel conversion project at a dairy farm site—Nordic Farms—in Charlotte, Vermont. The results were announced to USDA, State Government and local business officials at a team meeting and press event on July 9. Feasibility study outcomes demonstrated positive yields for dairy and beer brewery waste-fed heterotrophic and mixotrophic algal biofuel compared to current production baselines. In addition, the process showed the potential for positive energy balance and the production of important granular time release nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer as a co-product to fight the local water pollution problems caused by liquid fertilizer runoff. Plans to move the project into a pilot phase were also released. The event was covered by the local NBC affiliate, the VT Digger, and Vermont Public Radio.

In addition, two South Carolina projects recently received RBEGs to assess the feasibility of woody biomass based biofuels (in Clarendon County) and algae based biofuels (in Colleton County). The acceptance of these two projects was publicized in a July 9 announcement. Both projects are centered on South Carolina's I-95 corridor, a major target for economic development.

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