Synthetic Fuels Move Toward Acceptance

 - July 2, 2009, 11:44 AM

The possibility of commercially available synthetic jet fuels took a step closer to reality last week when ASTM International’s aviation fuels subcommittee passed a new specification for alternative jet fuel. The new specification details the properties and criteria required to control the production and quality of synthetic fuels for aviation use. With the subcommittee’s approval, the standard has now moved to the members of the organization’s main petroleum products and lubricants committee, which is to vote on the special ballot. After a 30-day window, if there is a 60-percent response rate with no negative votes, the measure could be adopted as an official specification by the end of next month. Both the FAA and the industry-sponsored Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative support the measure. According to Nancy LoBue, the FAA’s acting administrator for policy planning and the environment, this step could lead to the approval of a number of alternative fuels in the next few years and help lower aviation’s carbon footprint as part of the NextGen air transportation system plan.