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Billions in Plane Green Fuels

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Washington, DC Whitehouse Fact Sheet: "New Actions Aim to Produce Three Billion Gallons of Sustainable Fuel, Reduce Aviation Emissions by 20% by 2030, and Grow Good-Paying, Union Jobs." Video by Bill Gates!

Today, President Biden is taking steps to coordinate leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers, airports, and non-governmental organizations to advance the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels in American aviation. These steps will help make progress toward our climate goals for 2030 and are essential to unlocking the potential for a fully zero-carbon aviation sector by 2050. Today’s executive actions across the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the General Services Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency will result in the production and use of billions of gallons of sustainable fuel that will enable aviation emissions to drop 20% by 2030 when compared to business as usual. Together with President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, these new agency steps and industry partnerships will transform the aviation sector, create good-paying jobs, support American agriculture and manufacturing, and help us tackle the climate crisis.

Today, aviation (including all non-military flights within and departing from the United States) represents 11% of United States transportation-related emissions. Without increased action, aviation’s share of emissions is likely to increase as more people and goods fly. That is why leadership and innovation in this sector is so essential if we hope to put the aviation industry, and the economy, on track to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Achieving a sustainable aviation industry requires energy efficiency improvements in aircraft technology and better operations. In the future, electric and hydrogen-powered aviation may unlock affordable and convenient local and regional travel. But for today’s long-distance travel, we need bold partnerships to spur the deployment of billions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuels quickly. That is why President Biden proposed a Sustainable Aviation Fuel tax credit as part of the Build Back Better Agenda. This credit will help cut costs and rapidly scale domestic production of sustainable fuels for aviation. The proposed tax credit requires at least a 50% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and offers increased incentive for greater reductions. Today’s announcements build upon this proposal through a whole-of-government effort to advance cleaner aviation, as well as work in concert with bold actions taken by the aviation-related industries. Key federal actions include:

  • A new Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to inspire the dramatic increase in the production of sustainable aviation fuels to at least 3 billion gallons per year by 2030;

  • New and ongoing funding opportunities to support sustainable aviation fuel projects and fuel producers totaling up to $4.3 billion;

  • An increase in R&D activities to demonstrate new technologies that can achieve at least a 30% improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency;

  • Efforts to improve air traffic and airport efficiency to reduce fuel use, eliminate lead exposure, and ensure cleaner air in and around airports; and

  • The demonstration of U.S. leadership both internationally and through the federal example.

Building on today’s announcements, the Administration also plans to release an aviation climate action plan in the coming months, which will set forth a comprehensive plan for aviation. The Administration is committed to transforming the aviation sector in a way that creates good-paying union jobs in manufacturing, improves the environmental quality for airport and airline workers, and unlocks rural economic opportunity for sustainable fuels from many different feedstocks and pathways. Taking these and other steps in concert with the aviation sector can drive innovation and support a growing market for cleaner fuels, while reducing and eventually eliminating aviation’s climate impact. This transformation to a zero-carbon aviation sector will require coordinated innovation and leadership from the Federal government, aircraft manufactures, airlines, fuel producers, and airports. The new set of executive actions, federal programs, and private sector commitments described below will help set the sector on a path to net-zero emissions.

Launching New Aviation Climate Actions Across the Federal Government Today, the Administration is launching a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to inspire the dramatic increase in the production of sustainable aviation fuels, and to complement a broad set of actions the Administration intends to take to reduce aviation emissions in line with President Biden’s commitment to achieve net-zero economy-wide emissions no later than 2050. These actions include policy measures, technological advancements, and executive actions that will reduce domestic aviation carbon dioxide emissions and create good paying jobs within the decade. These efforts include: Scaling up sustainable aviation fuel production to at least 3 billion gallons per year by 2030 by supporting producers

  • Today the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are launching a government-wide Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge to meet the demand for sustainable aviation fuels by working with stakeholders to reduce costs, enhance sustainability, and expand production and use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) that achieves a minimum of a 50% reduction in life cycle GHGs compared to conventional fuel. In addition, the challenge will adopt the goal of supplying at least 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030 and, by 2050, sufficient SAF to meet 100% of aviation fuel demand, which is currently projected to be around 35 billion gallons per year.

  • USDA will support U.S. farmers with climate-smart agriculture practices and research, including biomass feedstock genetic development, sustainable crop and forest management at scale, and post-harvest supply chain logistics. USDA will also support fuel producers with carbon modeling components of aviation biofuel feedstocks.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOE will collaborate to identify data collection needs, assess technical information, and take other steps designed to expedite the regulatory approval process to support newly developed fuels and feedstocks that may be viable for inclusion as able to generate Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under renewable fuel in the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will make 14 grant awards with FY21 funds to the Aviation Sustainability CENTer (ASCENT) university center of excellence totaling more than $3.6M. This will support the sustainable aviation fuel approval clearing house in conducting evaluation testing to ensure that new fuels are safe for use.

  • DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) recently announced $35 million for 11 projects developing feedstock and algae technologies for advancing the domestic bioeconomy and today announced additional selections totaling over $61M to advance biofuels and support reduced cost of SAF pathways, including 11 projects that are scaling up promising technologies to produce SAF.

  • DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO) is offering up to $3 billion in loan guarantees. Commercial-scale SAF projects that utilize innovative technology and avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions and meet other program requirements may be eligible for loan guarantees under LPO’s Title 17 Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program.

  • DOD funding, subject to appropriations, to certify the use of up to four additional SAF pathways already approved in the commercial market, as well as additional SAF pathways in the ASTM approval pipeline for warfighters.

Increasing R&D activities to demonstrate new technologies to achieve at least a 30% improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched the Sustainable Flight National Partnership to collaborate with the FAA and industry to accelerate the maturation of aircraft and engine technologies that enable a step-change reduction in fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions.

  • The FAA is launching the third phase of its Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program by awarding more than $100 million for aircraft and engine companies to develop and demonstrate aircraft technologies that reduce fuel use, emissions, and noise.

  • Department of Defense (DoD) is investing in a range of initiatives to improve the efficiency of legacy aircraft and develop more energy efficient new aircraft. Some examples, subject to appropriations, include almost $900M for Air Force B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program, Army Improved Engine Turbine Program, Adaptive Engine Transition Program and Next-Generation Adaptive Propulsion Program, and Air Force Legacy Aircraft Drag Reduction Program.

  • DOE, working collaboratively with NASA, is investing $115M to develop battery technologies that can achieve the energy density needed for both near term electric vertical take-off and landing and short-range consumer aircraft use cases, and may potentially achieve the energy density needed for long term longer range electric aircraft as well.

  • DOE ARPA-E announced $16.5 million in funding for six projects as part of the Systems for Monitoring and Analytics for Renewable Transportation Fuels from Agricultural Resources and Management (SMARTFARM) program. These projects will develop technologies that bridge the data gap in the biofuel supply chain by quantifying feedstock-related GHG emissions and soil carbon dynamics at the field-level.

Improving air traffic and airport efficiency to reduce fuel use, eliminate lead exposure, and ensure cleaner air in and around airports

  • Recently, FAA awarded