A blueprint outlining a government-wide strategy for scaling up new technologies to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) across the U.S. airline industry has been issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge Roadmap is a collaboration between DOE, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration designed to spur technological innovation to produce SAF and reach the national clean energy goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

U.S. commercial aviation currently consumes approximately 10% of all transportation energy and contributes 2% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. SAF has the potential to deliver the performance of petroleum-based jet fuel but with a fraction of its carbon footprint, and emerging SAF pathways can even have a net-negative greenhouse gas footprint.

The roadmap defines six action areas spanning all activities with the potential to impact the SAF Grand Challenge objectives:

  1. Feedstock innovation
  2. Conversion technology innovation
  3. Building supply chains
  4. Policy and valuation analysis
  5. Enabling end use
  6. Communicating progress and building support

The roadmap will steer research and development efforts toward achieving a minimum of a 50% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuel, and meeting the goal of supplying sufficient SAF to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand by 2050.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com