FAA, USDA Cooperate On Biofuel

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The FAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have inked a five-year agreement to develop aviation fuel from agricultural and forestry waste. The program will study the availability and fuel-refining potential of a variety of biomass sources. "Under the partnership, the agencies will bring together their experience in research, policy analysis and air transportation sector dynamics to assess the availability of different kinds of feedstocks that could be processed by bio-refineries to produce jet fuels," the USDA said in a news release. Both agencies already have biofuel programs but hope the collaboration will keep them focused on projects that will work for both the producers and the end users. This program is aimed specifically at jet fuel. There's no mention of looking at alternatives to 100LL.

The jet-fuel component is part of a larger biomass initiative that is designed to include rural areas across the U.S. in a coordinated effort to turn the energy equation around with particular emphasis on reducing dependence on foreign oil for commercial aviation and military transportation. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said the deal is a good one for the future of aviation and the environment. "The development and deployment of alternative fuels is critical to achieving carbon neutral aviation growth by 2020," Babbitt said.