Aviation biofuels have the potential to deliver environmental benefits while also creating home-grown jobs and new market opportunities in the United States. Aviation biofuels are proven and certified to work as drop-in fuels in commercial aircraft. United Airlines flew the first commercial flight in the U.S. in November 2011 on an advanced biofuel developed from microbial algae blended with conventional fuel. Several other airlines have flown multiple revenue biofuel flights with Boeing and Honeywell’s UOP as critical stakeholders in these achievements.
Sustainable aviation fuels are necessary to improve the industry’s operating costs and lower environmental impact. Commercial aviation spends $6.3 billion on jet fuel a year for flights originating in the Midwest. Expanding the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels will have clear business benefits for the airline industry and the broader Midwest economy. From 1990 to 2012, fuel costs increased by 574% and are now the single largest expense for commercial aviation, accounting for up to 40% of an airline’s operating budget. Further, commercial aviation is expected to grow by 5% per year over the next 20 years, representing a need for an additional 36 billion gallons of jet fuel. Prices for conventional jet fuel are expected to increase on average by 4.6% annually during the same time period. Of current U.S. petroleum consumption, 49% is derived from foreign oil – aviation biofuels grown and produced in the Midwest will promote energy security.