Virtually all of the fuel currently used in aviation operations is derived from petroleum. Petroleum fuel supply and associated pricing (both level and volatility) are key business challenges for the industry. In addition, concerns about environmental impacts compound challenges facing the aviation sector as it continues to meet demand. “Drop-in” alternative jet fuel (see Special Note A.) provides great promise for the aviation industry from an environmental, energy security, and economic perspective. Several demonstration flights during the past year have shown that technology is available to produce alternative jet fuel that can be used to safely fly existing aircraft. Key challenges to moving forward with commercial use of alternative jet fuel include formation of an effective business plan addressing production at marketable prices and quantities, deliverable at the appropriate point in the supply chain. One concept that has received significant industry interest is to locate an alternative fuel production facility on, adjacent to, or with access to an airport to take advantage of known demand. Access to a known demand at an airport could encourage investment by an alternative fuel producer in aviation fuel. In order to provide a path forward for siting an alternative fuel production facility, and associated infrastructure, research is needed to evaluate the legal, financial, environmental, and logistical considerations and opportunities associated with launching such a project.
The objective of this research is to prepare a handbook for airport operators and others associated with “drop-in” jet fuel production and delivery that summarizes issues and opportunities associated with locating (on or off-airport) an alternative jet fuel production facility, and its storage and distribution requirements. The handbook will identify potential benefits; address legal, financial, environmental, and logistical considerations and opportunities; and aid in evaluating the feasibility of providing this capability.