A coalition of international business aviation organizations joined Los Angeles-area civic leaders Jan. 17 to mark a milestone in the development and adoption of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SAJF) through Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability.
“We are excited to see our industry demonstrating the viability of sustainable alternative jet fuel at general aviation airports for business aviation users,” said Pete Bunce, General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO. “This event will help raise awareness of the safety and accessibility of the fuel, and demonstrate our industry’s commitment to building the necessary demand for SAJF that will be integral to achieving industry climate emissions goals.”
“Today’s ground-breaking event demonstrates that National Air Transportation Association members across the supply chain—from fuel suppliers and distributors to aircraft owners and operators—are committed to a future of sustainable alternative jet fuel,” stated Gary Dempsey, president of NATA. “Van Nuys Airport was the perfect backdrop for today’s activities, and we appreciate the support of the Van Nuys Airport Association, Los Angeles World Airports and the other coalition members in making ‘Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability’ a reality. We look forward to continuing to spread the message of the impact and benefits of SAJF throughout the industry and across the world.”
The day-long series of events included demonstration flights conducted by business aircraft, established Van Nuys Airport as the first general aviation airport in the U.S. to offer SAJF on a trial basis, and served as a model for offering the fuels at other airports.
“As one of the world’s busiest general aviation airports—with 231,000 annual operations supporting diverse private, business and government aviation needs—Van Nuys Airport is committed to leading the way in environmental sustainability,” said Curt Castagna, Van Nuys Airport Association president. “The airport’s four fixed-base operators participating in this initiative exemplify the Van Nuys Airport Association’s long history of building collaborative partnerships among industry, business and community stakeholders to achieve meaningful progress and change. We are honored to play a key role in advancing the use of sustainable alternative fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft at airports across the nation.”
The trial flights, which were first announced at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in 2018, are an extension of the SAJF initiative, reflecting the industry’s long-standing commitment to emissions reduction, including, among other aims, carbon neutrality from 2020 forward. In conjunction with EBACE, the coalition released the “Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Alternative Fuel” to provide a roadmap for the education about, and use of, SAJF.
“This first-ever event focused on business aviation use of SAJF demonstrates the industry’s strong interest in reducing its environmental impacts, particularly its carbon emissions,” commented Kurt Edwards, director of the International Business Aviation Council. “SAJF represents a critical measure to help meet the sector’s global commitment to halve carbon emissions by 2050 relative to 2005 levels. Always at the forefront of innovation, business aviation will be an international leader in taking up and seeing the benefits of this cutting-edge and available technology.”
The success of the trial flights clearly demonstrated three key points:
1) SAJF are safe and do not impact aircraft performance.
2) SAJF offer great impact and benefits to the airport and the community, including reduced particulate matter.
3) SAJF reflect the commitment by business aviation to aircraft carbon reduction.
“Business aviation has long led the way in promoting advances aimed at reducing the industry’s environmental footprint,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association. “We are proud to celebrate this major industry milestone, and look forward to launching SAJF flights in locations around the world.”
The SAJF initiative, developed by a coalition of international aviation organizations, is intended, first, to address a “knowledge gap” on the availability of SAJF and concerns within the industry regarding its safety and, second, to advance the proliferation of alternative jet fuels at all the logical touchpoints: the manufacturers, the ground handlers and the operators, at the regional, national and international levels.
“The commitment of this coalition to continued emissions reduction is one shared across the business aviation sector,” said Athar Husain Khan, secretary general of the European Business Aviation Association. “In fact, thanks to a continuing focus on emissions, business aircraft today are cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient than ever. I am therefore proud to say, on behalf of the EBAA, that we fully endorse this initiative and appreciate all of the coalition’s efforts and are looking forward to continuing this momentum on the European continent.”
Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability was made possible through the efforts of EBAA, GAMA, IBAC, NATA, NBAA and VNAA, in coordination with Avfuel Corp., Bombardier Business Aircraft, Gevo Inc., World Energy, World Fuel Services and other industry stakeholders.
“Our industry is uniquely poised to make a huge, positive difference in the fight against climate change—not by changing how much we fly, but by changing how we fuel,” said David Coleal, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft and chair of GAMA’s environment committee. “SAJF will enable a future of clean, efficient propulsion in business aviation: their advantages are real and current—we can benefit from the regular use of SAJF not just in our lifetime, but immediately, starting today. We commend the Van Nuys Airport community for their historic leadership in not only making SAJF accessible for operators, but also for providing an example for other airports to follow. This is how meaningful change begins.”
“Avfuel is proud to support the SAJF initiative with its first full truckload of sustainable alternative jet fuel delivered to a business aviation airport,” said Keith Sawyer, Avfuel’s manager of alternative fuels. “We are committed to helping the industry achieve its goals of carbon neutrality and are pleased with this first step, which proves that SAJF can become a viable option for the industry at large. We are working ardently to secure further sources of the product to champion one of the largest hurdles yet to the initiative, availability. We’re also working with operators who can help us support this initiative by making commitments for the SAJF product—commitments that will drive demand and, hopefully, the supply of the fuel at the production level.”
Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, said, “This event demonstrates our partnership and mutual commitment with Avfuel to feed the world, sequester carbon dioxide and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In our production process, not only do we produce renewable jet fuel, we also can produce large quantities of protein for the food chain and even sequester carbon in the soil. In fact, for every barrel of biojet fuel produced by Gevo, we could produce approximately 420 pounds of protein and sequester up to 60 pounds of carbon back into the soil. We are planning on expanding our plant in Luverne, Minnesota, to make it capable of producing nearly 10 MMgy of our sustainable alcohol-to-jet fuel, and we are putting plans in place for additional sustainable alcohol-to-jet fuel production plants that could even use wood as a feedstock.”
“In 2016, World Fuel Services, in partnership with World Energy, became the first to deliver commercially viable SAJF to the aviation industry, and after three years remains the only large-scale distributor,” said Steve Drzymalla, senior vice president of business aviation bulk fuel at World Fuel. “Since that time, we have delivered nearly 500,000 gallons of SAJF to business aviation and over 13 million gallons to commercial customers. We are proud to partner with World Energy, whose Paramount, California, refinery is the U.S.’s first and only fully operational, consistent producer of SAJF. Events like today are critical to developing awareness and increasing industry momentum and investment.”
“Since January 2016, as the only commercial producer globally of SAJF, World Energy has forged partnerships with industries such as general aviation, who are committed to a low-carbon future,” said Bryan Sherbacow, chief commercial officer of World Energy. “World Energy’s SAJF has been independently certified to reduce GHG emissions in excess of 60 percent relative to petroleum Jet-A. Importantly, turbine criteria pollutants are significantly lowered in a flight’s life-cycle, primarily upon take-off and landing, providing local solutions to airport communities such as Van Nuys.”