Biden Administration sets a ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ for American Aviation
Cutting aviation emissions by 20 percent by 2030.
35 billion gallons a year — with sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) by 2050.
The Biden Administration established ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ for American Aviation to achieve in the next 9 years. The purpose is to reduce the carbon contribution of our industry to Climate Change. Whether you buy into the urgent, pessimistic prognosis of some in science, pursuit of this greening of our business will assure the long term viability of air transportation. The specifics of the agenda call for the talents and attention of our profession—Part 36 tests, STCs, Part 23 certification, STCs, etc. Achieving this BHAG should be on each of our priority lists.
The Biden administration on Thursday announced a series of industry-backed actions aimed at reducing the climate impact of air travel, with a goal of cutting aviation emissions by 20 percent by 2030.
The departments of Energy, Transportation and Agriculture will collaborate on a goal of meeting 100 percent of aviation fuel demand — around 35 billion gallons a year — with sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) by 2050. SAFs are defined as those that reduce lifecycle greenhouse gases by half compared to conventional fuels.
According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the SAF production targets in the executive actions would result in a 20 percent reduction in aviation emissions by the end of the decade and produce 3 billion gallons of sustainable fuel. The industry used about 18.3 billion gallons of fuel altogether in 2019.
The White House also announced 14 grants totaling more than $3.6 million that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will disburse to develop and test new sustainable fuels. [see below for specific grants.]
Meanwhile, according to the fact sheet, members of the trade group Airlines for America have pledged to collaborate on making three billion gallons of SAF available to plane operators by the end of the decade.
In a statement, Liz Jones, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, called President Biden‘s approach overly reliant on voluntary industry cooperation.
“Biden’s deal with the airlines largely relies on biofuels aspirations that simply aren’t based on reality. Nothing in this deal holds the airlines to their promises, and even the best-case scenario doesn’t cut climate pollution fast enough,” Jones said. “More investment in efficiency is promising, but the Biden EPA needs to set strong airplane emissions standards now, not get mired in the myth of sustainable airline fuels.”
Achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is one of the Biden administration’s major environmental agenda items. Individual carrier commitments include United setting a target of reducing its emissions intensity by half compared to 2019 by 2035. Delta Air Lines, meanwhile, has secured deals with three SAF producers and set a target of replacing 10 percent of jet fuel use with SAFs by 2030. [The Biden SAF proposal received support for the new goal by A4A.]
The reconciliation package and bipartisan infrastructure bill before Congress would take numerous steps aimed at reducing transportation emissions, including promoting electric vehicles and increased rail transportation, but air travel remains one of the number-one sources of emissions. The aviation industry was the source of 860 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2017, with a plurality of 202.5 million tons from the U.S., according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Friday, September 10, 2021
WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $100 million for companies to help develop technologies that reduce fuel use, emissions and noise. The award is part of a series of steps President Biden is taking to coordinate leadership and innovation across the federal government, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers and more to position American aviation to soar towards net zero emissions by 2050. This FAA announcement is part of those efforts.
“Across the country, communities have been devastated by the effects of climate change – but, if we act now, we can ensure that aviation plays a central role in the solution,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These awards will help America lead the world in sustainable aviation.”
The Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Program is a public-private partnership that began in 2010 and is a key part the FAA’s overall strategy to tackle the global challenge of climate change and lower the impact aviation has on communities. The program requires the companies receiving the contracts to match or exceed the FAA’s investment, bringing the total to at least $200 million over a five-year period. The awards are the third phase of the FAA’s CLEEN program.
Under CLEEN Phase III, the FAA and six industry partners will focus on reducing aviation emissions and noise, including pursuing goals of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by improving fuel efficiency by at least 20 percent below the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard; NOx emissions by 70 percent relative to the most recent ICAO standard; particulate matter emissions below the ICAO standard; and noise by 25 dB cumulative relative to the FAA Stage 5 standard.
- General Electric Aviation will develop an advanced engine propulsion system and advanced acoustic improvements to reduce noise and fuel consumption; electric and hybrid-electric systems to increase fuel efficiency; and advanced combustion and thermal management systems to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements.
- Honeywell Aerospace will develop a more efficient engine fan, combustion system, compressor, and turbine to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.
- Pratt & Whitney will develop an ultra-quiet engine fan and an advanced combustion system to reduce noise, emissions, and fuel consumption.
- Boeing will develop technologies to reduce noise from the wings, landing gear, and engine inlets. The company also will support the evaluation of alternative jet fuels that could enable further aircraft performance improvements, and help to develop new algorithms that enable aircraft to fly quieter, more fuel-efficient routes.
- Delta TechOps, GKN Aerospace, MDS Coating, and America’s Phenix will work together to develop erosion-resistant fan blade coatings to reduce fuel consumption over the life of an engine.
- Rohr Inc. will develop acoustic technology to reduce the noise from engine exhausts.
These illustrations do not represent the specific searches.
The FAA also is pursuing agreements with Rolls-Royce Corporation and Safran Nacelles.
“Like our quest for safer skies, making flying sustainable requires us to constantly look for ways to improve,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
The CLEEN technologies developed so far are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to removing 3 million cars from the road by 2050 and to save the aviation industry 36 billion gallons of fuel. The fuel savings is the equivalent of 11.4 million Boeing 737 flights between New York and Los Angeles.
Examples of the accomplishments from the FAA’s $225 million invested in the CLEEN Phase I and Phase II include:
- Enhanced jet engine combustion systems have entered the aviation fleet, resulting in lower emissions.
- Advanced aircraft wings made of stronger and lighter-weight materials are supporting innovative development of current and future aircraft.
- Flight Management System algorithms have been created under CLEEN to enable aircraft to fly more fuel-efficient routes.
- Several alternative jet fuels have been certified for safe use, due in part to testing and evaluation efforts conducted under CLEEN.
The FAA anticipates that technologies developed under CLEEN Phase III could be introduced into commercial aircraft by 2031.
See the CLEEN Program website for more program information and detailed descriptions of CLEEN technologies and benefits.
From the White House Fact Sheet—
- FAA introduced the Aviation Climate Research (ACR) program in the FY22 Presidential Budget Request for the FAA at a proposed $50M. Subject to appropriations, the ACR program will invest in research that has transformative impact potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation in support of the U.S. climate change goals.
- FAA is launching a new research project to develop a contrail avoidance tool to evaluate and optimize the benefits, costs, and practicality of contrail avoidance to minimize aviation climate impacts.
- To address local environmental impacts of aviation, including lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft, the FAA and the EPA will be working together to identify ways to reduce exposure to lead emissions and to reduce or eliminate lead from aviation gasoline.
Similar agendas across the Administration– the Department of Energy (DOE)[ DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO); DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO)], U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
 James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
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