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Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative - CAAFI


CAAFI’s goal is to promote the development 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

Value-chain step

Type of pathway

Starting time and duration
2006 -

Airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers, energy producers, researchers, international participants and U.S. government agencies

Regional scope

Involved countries


CAAFI is a coalition of airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers, energy producers, researchers, international participants and U.S. government agencies that seeks to enhance energy security and environmental sustainability for aviation by exploring 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 participants are evaluating alternative jet fuels in teams focused in four areas:


  • Fuel Certification and Qualification—CAAFI is supporting new jet fuels approval process via the ASTM International standard setting body.
  • 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 sustainability needs, measuring engine emissions that affect air quality, quantify the full life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the fuel production process including feedstock extraction and transport, fuel processing, fuel distribution and land use changes.
  • 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: 600 stakeholders
Achievements to date


  • ASTM International approved use of synthesized hydrocarbon jet fuels from Fischer-Tropsch and “hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids” (HEFA) processes (Sept. 2009 and July 2011, respectively)
  • 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)
  • “Path to Alternative Jet Fuel Readiness” guidance developed by CAAFI to assist stakeholders in understanding the steps to bring a new jet fuel into use.
  • Completion of aviation-fuel-specific greenhouse gas lifecycle analyses (LCAs) for multiple fuels (through PARTNER Researchers at MIT, March 2010)
  • 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
  •  “Farm to Fly” resolution signed between A4A, Boeing and USDA to accelerate commercial availability of sustainable aviation biofuels in the United States, with active participation by DOE, FAA and DLA Energy
  • Memorandum of Understanding signed between 15 airlines (in four countries) and two alternative fuel producers (Rentech and AltAir) to set the stage for fuel-purchase negotiations (December 2009)
  • 10 airlines signed letters of intent to negotiate purchase of biomass-derived jet fuel from Solena Fuels, LLC in Gilroy, California (June 2011)
  • United Airlines and Alaska Airlines operated commercial flights using HEFA fuels (November 2011)
  • Multiple national, international and state-level partnerships formed with  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
  • Four members of CAAFI leadership and sponsor organizations are among the top 50 "most important people" in Biofuels as voted by the readers of Biofuels Digest....the only end user representatives on the list.
Contact information