Back to Initiatives & Projects List
Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative - CAAFI
CAAFI’s goal is to promote the development, evaluation, and commercialization of drop-in alternative jet fuel options that offer equivalent levels of safety and compare favourably on cost with petroleum based jet fuel, while also offering environmental improvement and security of energy supply for aviation.
Stakeholders Action Group
Type of pathway
Starting time and duration
Airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers, energy producers, researchers, international participants and U.S. government agencies
National (and collaborating with similar institutions world-wide)
CAAFI is a coalition of airlines, airports, aircraft and engine manufacturers, energy producers, researchers, non-governmental organizations, international participants and U.S. government agencies that seek to enhance energy security and environmental sustainability for aviation by exploring and facilitating the use of drop-in alternative jet fuels.
CAAFI primarily serves as a means of exchanging information and coordinating stakeholder efforts. This is done through development of communication tools for evaluation of alternative jet fuel readiness, the holding of technical workshops, outreach to domestic and international aviation, energy, and financial industry forums, and communication with the news media.
CAAFI also serves in the role of initiating activities associated with supply chain business development, including the use of public-private partnerships as well as leveraging the funded activities of their sponsors and various government partner agencies.
CAAFI participants are advancing the development of alternative jet fuels via work by four focused teams:
- Fuel Certification and Qualification--CAAFI is supporting the evaluation and approval of new synthetic jet fuels within the ASTM International standard setting body, and collaborating to achieve parallel approvals with other standard setting bodies or governmental entities worldwide.
- Research and Development--participants are sharing analyses and identifying and coordinating research activities and priorities to improve understanding of the broad range of new fuel production technologies and feedstock.
- Environment--participants are working on developing sustainability resources to assist the aviation community in understanding multi-faceted sustainability needs and impacts, measuring engine emissions that affect air quality, and quantifying the full life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the fuel production process (including feedstock establishment and growth, extraction and transport, fuel processing, fuel distribution, and land use change).
- Business and Economics--to facilitate the deployment of alternative jet fuels in the marketplace, participants are connecting fuel producers and consumers, evaluating the business case for use of alternative jet fuel, and identifying opportunities for deployment.
- Sponsors: FAA, ACI-NA, AIA, A4A
- Participants: 800+ stakeholders, 350+ organizations
- Federal Agencies in Public-Private-Partnerships: 9
|Achievements to date|
- ASTM International approvals for synthesized hydrocarbon jet fuels:
- Fischer Tropsch-SPK, Sept. 2009
- HEFA-SPK, July 2011
- SIP-SPK, June 2014
- FT-SPK/A, pending, expected Q4 2015
- ATJ-SPK, expected Q4 2015
- Several additional Task Force efforts initiated and in-process.
- “Path to Alternative Jet Fuel Readiness” and “ASTM D4054 User’s Guide” guidance developed by CAAFI to assist stakeholders in understanding the steps to bring a new jet fuel into use.
- Additional process definition and refinement for ASTM progression introduced in 2015.
- CAAFI publishes “Guidance for Selling Alternative Fuels to Airlines” and provides links to IATA’s “Aviation Fuel Supply Model Agreement” to assist fuel providers in understanding airline needs and desires for executing MOUs and Purchase Agreements (2013)
- Industry Offtake Announcements signaling continued commercial progress:
- British Airways – Solena Fuels
- United Airlines – AltAir Fuels & Fulcrum Bioenergy
- Alaska Airlines – Hawaii BioEnergy
- Cathay Pacific – Fulcrum Bioenergy
- Southwest – Red Rock Biofuels
- GE Aviation – D’Arcinoff Group
- Gulfstream – World Fuel Services
Additionally, CAAFI industry partners are enabling commercial pursuits through involvement with potential producers on Research Efforts, Certification / Qualification testing, Commercialization Assistance / Investment, and Flight Demonstrations.
- Fuel Readiness Level developed by CAAFI and endorsed as a best practice by the International Civil Aviation Organization (November 2009).
- Feedstock Readiness Level tool developed for evaluating progress of new feedstocks toward commercialization (CAAFI collaboration with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).
- Continuing to develop aviation-fuel-specific techo-economic assessments (TEAs), greenhouse gas lifecycle analyses (LCAs), and supply chain evaluations for multiple fuels and feedstocks (through PARTNER and ASCENT research programs).
- Formation of strategic alliance between airlines (via A4A) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), creating “single market” for alternative jet fuel (March 2010).
- Aviation highlighted as a priority for “concerted effort” for biofuel deployment by U.S. government, including a 2014-2015 effort which evaluated remaining research needs and gaps expected to culminate in a National Alternative Jet Fuel Research & Development Strategy targeted for 2015 release.
- “Farm to Fly” efforts between A4A, Boeing and USDA leading to first of two significant USDA NIFA CAP efforts in Northwest U.S.
- “Farm-to-Fly 2.0” agreement expanded in 2013 to broader participant base and focused on additional feasibility analysis for state and regional supply chain development activities.
- Multiple national, international and state-level partnerships formed to facilitate research, development, evaluation and deployment of alternative jet fuels.
- 2010 Air Transport World Award for contribution to the industry.
- 2011 Washington Airports Task Force Williams Trophy for worldwide efforts to develop, deploy and introduce jet biofuels.
- 2012 Washington DC Chapter of Advancing Women In Transportation Innovative Solutions Award.
- Multiple members of CAAFI leadership, sponsor organizations, and government and academia collaborators are among the “Top 125 People in the Advanced Bioeconomy" as voted by the readers of Biofuels Digest.