The FAA recently approved a new, alternative bio-based jet fuel that meets ASTM International standards. Known as Alcohol to Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK), the new aviation fuel is created from isobutanol, an alcohol that is derived from feed stocks such as sugar, corn or woodland waste. According to the FAA, “This new fuel will make air travel more sustainable environmentally and increase our national energy resources. In contrast to traditional petroleum-based fuels, these new alternative fuels can reduce emissions and are renewable.”
This latest approval brings the number of approved aviation biofuels to five, including ATJ-SPK, Synthesized Iso-parafins (SIP), Hydro-processed Esters and Fatty Acids Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (HEFA-SPK), Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (FT-SPK) and Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Kerosene with Aromatics. All use a variety of renewable feedstocks. The Fischer-Tropsch processes can also use traditional fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
Use of such fuels can help the aviation industry meet its goal of carbon neutral growth, noted the agency. As an example, operation with the newly certified ATJ-SPK, in which the FAA played a large role in the development and testing, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a life-cycle basis by up to 85 percent.