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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

DOT's Buttigieg: Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge "will lead to cleaner skies"

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The U.S. Department of Transportation's Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs Annie Petsonk joined U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in unveiling the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge Roadmap.

The roadmap lists actions that will promote technological innovation to produce SAF, reduce emissions, enable the U.S. to achieve its domestic goals, and establish the country as a global leader in the burgeoning SAF market, according to a Sept. 23 DOT news release.

“Transportation contributes more carbon emissions than any other sector, which means it must also be a central part of the solution to climate change, and that certainly includes aviation,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. “We look forward to working with our partners in the public and private sectors on the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge, which will lead to cleaner skies, continued economic growth, and good-paying jobs.”

Currently, U.S. commercial aviation consumes approximately 10% of all transportation energy, making the field a significant contributor of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, the release reported. SAF has the ability to perform on the same level as petroleum-based jet fuel, but with a fraction of its carbon footprint, with emerging SAF pathways having a net-negative greenhouse gas emission footprint.

In addition, SAF can be made from renewable biomass and other resources, such as winter oilseed crops, agricultural and forestry residues, and municipal solid waste streams, according to the release. Approximately 50-60 billion gallons of low-carbon fuels can be collected sustainably each year in the U.S. The growing, sourcing, and producing of SAF can also create new economic opportunities in agricultural communities, improve the environment and increase aircraft capabilities.

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