Archived 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.

DOE Announces Funding for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Biofuel Production Plants

9 May 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled “Project Definition for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower.” The FOA will fund selected project proposals for the design of pilot- or demonstration-scale biorefinery facilities that produce cellulosic biomass, algal biomass, or biosolids feedstocks.

For more information on the funding opportunity, refer to the CAAFI Funding Opportunity Announcement page and the FOA listing on the EERE Exchange site.

Rick Gustafson (UW) Presented “Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Poplar Feedstock – A Pacific Northwest Perspective” for CAAFI R&D Team SOAP-Jet Webinar Series

22 April 2016—ON April 8, 2016, Rick Gustafson (University of Washington) presented “Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Poplar Feedstock – A Pacific Northwest Perspective” as part of the third CAAFI R&D Team SOAP-Jet webinar series focusing on regional perspectives of alternative jet fuel development and deployment. The series concentrates on current activities, approaches to supply chain integration, and regional challenges.

Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB – is a USDA funded $40 million 5-year program whose mission is to lay the foundation for a renewable fuels and chemicals industry in the Pacific Northwest using sustainably grown poplar feedstock. AHB has projects ranging from development of energy tree farms to education programs for training future biorefinery operators. AHB has looked closely at producing renewable aviation fuels from poplar feedstock. In this webinar AHB introduced poplar as a bioenergy feedstock and discussed its conversion to aviation fuels and chemicals.

The entire slide deck from the presentation can be seen and downloaded here.

DOE Releases Notice of Intent to Fund Pilot and Demonstration Scale Biofuel Production Plants

19 April 2016 – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a Notice of Intent (NOI), to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled “Project Definition for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower.”

The FOA, once released, will fund selected project proposals for the design of pilot- or demonstration-scale biorefinery facilities that produce cellulosic biomass, algal biomass, or biosolids feedstocks. The construction of pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries such as this are essential in validating process technologies that enable future commercial scale biorefinery construction and operation. Selected projects will be funded with cooperative agreements that allow an estimated design period of performance of one to two years. After this time frame, eligible projects will be reviewed for Phase II construction and operations project funding.

DOE expects to release the FOA on or around May 2, 2016. For more information, refer to the full NOI released by EERE.

ASTM Approves New Alcohol-to-Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene for ASTM D7566 Specification

18 April 2016 – Gevo, Inc. announced that ASTM International approved a new sustainable alternative jet fuel pathway – Alcohol-to-Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK) – under ASTM D7566 (Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons) on April 1, 2016. The ATJ-SPK fuel is initially limited to use of isobutanol as a feedstock, although the specification outlines a pathway for inclusion of any C2-C5 alcohol feedstocks as additional data is generated by such producers. The alcohol feedstocks are subsequently processed through dehydration, oligomerization, hydrogenation, and fractionation to achieve the properties of an acceptable jet fuel blend stock. ATJ-SPK is now the 5th approved synthetic blending component approved by the industry.

As with the previous four approved ASTM D7566 fuel pathways, ATJ-SPK must be blended with petroleum-based jet fuel before it may be reclassified as a drop-in D1655 jet fuel. The fuel is limited to a 30% maximum blend level.

CAAFI wishes to congratulate Gevo on achieving this milestone, and we look forward to additional Gevo engagement with the aviation enterprise, leading to impactful commercialization opportunities. Find the revised ASTM D7566 specification and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announcement here and here, respectively.

CAAFI also looks forward to recurring approvals of additional D7566 pathways over the next several years, eventually enabling a very broad group of technologies and feedstocks to be used for the production of sustainable alternative jet fuel world-wide, and in meaningful quantities to help the aviation industry meets its carbon neutral growth goals.

Upcoming DOE Field-To-Fleet Webinar: “How Does Feedstock Type Affect Biofuels Conversion?”

13 April 2016 – The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting a webinar on April 20, 2016, from 1pm to 2pm Eastern Time on its Farm-to-Fleet program. The Farm-to-Fleet program is part of the overarching DOE Thermochemical Feedstock Interface project – a joint endeavor by the Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to examine how different feedstocks affect the thermochemical biofuels-conversion process.

The webinar will host speakers from each national lab listed above as well as the BETO Conversion Technology Manager, Prasad Gupte.

You may register for the Farm-to-Fleet program here.

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