Synthesis Topics

Lessons Learned from Initial Integration of Alternative Jet Fuels into Airport Settings

Assigned to Jacob Shila
Last Edited by Jacob Shila

The proposed work will provide a synthesis on the experiences of airport operators so far with integrating the alternative jet fuels into the airport fuel setting.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The production of alternative jet fuel from alternative sources continues to grow. These fuels can be produced from various sources both renewable and non-renewable sources. Renewable sources include animal fats, plants, and biomass; while non-renewable sources include natural gas and coal. Various aviation industry stakeholders have are interested in alternative jet fuels for reasons including but not limited to strengthening the reliability and security of fuel supply, minimizing the jet fuel price volatility, provide local economic benefits, and improving the local air quality at airports and surrounding areas.
Five pathways for the production of sustainable jet fuel have already been approved for production. Fuels produced using these pathways are certified as drop-in fuels meaning they are interchangeable with petroleum-based jet fuel and certified with ASTM International standards. Currently, the approval of alternative jet fuels require that they are blended with conventional jet fuel up to a concentration of 50% alternative jet fuel. Demonstration flights using the fuel produced from plant oil and animal fats have been conducted since 2008. Over the years, the interest to establish the alternative jet fuel into the regular aviation supply chain has been increasing. Several stakeholders established production and supply chain agreements with biofuel producers and alternative jet fuel suppliers respectively; these include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Fedex, United Airlines, Delta, Finnair, ANA, KLM, Boeing, and Gulfstream. These initial production and supply chain contracts will affect at least 11 airports in the US. This number is bound to increase given the increase in the participation interest by various aviation stakeholders including Fixed-Based Operators and fuel suppliers. Such increasing participation in the production and distribution of alternative jet fuels is one of the key drivers to reduce the cost of production of these fuels. The aim of this synthesis is to identify the missing gap of information that will be helpful for airport operators and other related stakeholders to ensure a sustained and increasing participation in the utilization of alternative jet fuel at airports.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

By study aims to provide a comprehensive summary of actual experiences of integrating alternative jet fuel into airport fuel systems to help airport sponsors understand the most recent challenges related to alternative jet fuel in airports. The results are expected to

  1. Highlight both successes and challenges that airport sponsors face with regard to facilitating the existing alternative jet fuel supply agreements that are being implemented.
  2. Identity missing gaps in the existing knowledge that previous research has contributed in this subject.
Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

This synthesis topic will cover the following steps

  1. Collect data from the airports that have incorporated or are in the process incorporating alternative jet fuel into their fuel settings.
  2. Summarize the information into a synthesis that can be utilized by other airports
Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

The following ACRP studies have provided relevant on the topic:
 ACRP Report 60 – provides a guideline for integrating the alternative fuel into the airport
 ACRP Synthesis 63 – provides an extensive overview of airport fueling operations
 ACRP Report 165 – provides additional information on tracking alternative jet fuel at airports
Based on these studies, this synthesis will provide an update on existing requirements and perhaps challenges that airports operators and related stakeholders may still be facing with regard to integrating alternative jet fuels at airports.

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