Research Projects

Sustainable Aviation Jet Fuel Economic Benefits Toolkit for Airports

Develop a spreadsheet tool and user guidebook for airports to quantify the non-energy benefits of SAJF in their region, to enable more accurate and comprehensive benefit-cost analysis for investment and policy decision-making.

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

"Large, commercial-scale deployment of sustainable aviation jet fuels (SAJF) within the aviation industry and across global airports is on the horizon. The aviation industry has a goal of achieving net carbon neutral growth from 2020 and further achieving a 50% net carbon reduction relative to 2005 levels by 2050. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 declared the goal of moving the US towards national energy independence. There is consensus among diverse industry stakeholders that the near-term development and commercialization of SAJF is a critical component to the successful attainment of these goals.

Stakeholders agree that SAJF provides a host of benefits aside from merely being a source of energy for air transport. Non-energy benefits include (but may not be limited to): regional economic development; emission reductions of particulate matter, SOX, and CO2; energy security and independence; fuel supply resiliency and diversification; waste stream utilization; ecosystem services from agriculture/silviculture; and enhanced fuel price stability and availability. Many of these non-energy benefits accrue to airports. For example, air quality improvement supports the health of surrounding communities and airport-based employees as well as reduces the costs of complying with air quality regulations. Increasing SAJF demand also creates decent paying jobs. These benefits may also support an airport's "license to grow."

There is a large body of research and literature on methodologies for placing economic value on positive externalities and amenities not traded in markets (e.g. the non-energy benefits listed above), and this has been applied to both the aviation and bio-economy industries at a macro level. However, these quantification methodologies have not been applied to the SAJF industry and all of its non-energy benefits in particular, nor have they been applied at the more granular levels of the airport or its region.

While airports do not purchase SAJF directly, they can play a role facilitating its use. To spur the development and deployment of SAJF, the total benefits must outweigh the total costs. ACRP can generate a key resource that airports can use to address this challenge. Airports will benefit from a toolkit that quantifies and places monetary values on each non-energy benefit of SAJF at various scales (i.e. individual airport-project level, regional, and national) across the different types of feedstock and technology fuel production pathways. The toolkit will enable airports and other stakeholders to perform more accurate and comprehensive benefit-cost analysis regarding the development and use of SAJF. This would be accompanied by a user guidebook that provides robust data and analysis supporting the spreadsheet's inputs and assumptions regarding each non-energy benefit, as well as instructions for customizing the spreadsheet so that outputs can be tailored to a desired scale and feedstock/technology pathway combination. The guidebook would include findings on potential applications of non-energy benefits valuation, such as mitigating the price differential between SAJF and conventional Jet-A fuel. By developing such customization and granular information, the non-energy benefits can be presented and utilized in a manner that is most valuable and relevant, given a particular audience and/or context. For example, non-energy benefits quantification can help an airport justify investing in SAJF infrastructure or commissioning a feasibility study. As the nexus of all aviation industry stakeholders, airports are in an ideal position to demonstrate the full range of SAJF benefits to help scale its deployment.

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

Develop a spreadsheet tool and user guidebook for airports to quantify the non-energy benefits of SAJF in their region, to enable more accurate and comprehensive benefit-cost analysis for investment and policy decision-making.

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Idea No. 36