Vilsack meets with Boeing, Honeywell to review, promote aviation biofuels

January 17, 2012 |

In Illinois, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with officials from Boeing, Honeywell and United Airlines at Boeing’s headquarters in Chicago to discuss biofuels and their future role in military and civil aviation.

“We know they are very interested in this because they are confronting greenhouse gas regulations in Europe; we know this fuel will allow them to meet those regulations. We already have a few airlines that are using biofuels on a pilot basis so we see this as a tremendous opportunity for job growth in rural areas and for additional income opportunities for farmers so we’re going to be working with the commercial,” Vilsack said.

In the meeting, Vilsack highlighted significant efforts the Obama Administration has initiated, including:

• USDA has forged partnerships with the FAA and the aviation industry to promote aviation biofuels and has invested more than $80 million in research focused on developing aviation biofuels. This year, two commercial airlines flew their first domestic flights powered by biofuels.

• USDA entered a partnership the Department of Energy and U.S. Navy to invest up to $510 million during the next three years to produce advanced, drop-in aviation and marine biofuels to power military and commercial transportation.

• Last month USDA and the Navy announced that the Defense Logistics Agency had signed a contract to purchase 450,000 gallons of advanced drop-in biofuel, the single largest purchase of biofuel in government history.

• USDA is investing in research through a grant to the University of Washington, which received $40 million to focus on using sustainably grown woody energy crops to produce biogasoline and renewable aviation fuel.

• USDA provided a $40 million research grant to Washington State University to convert closed timber mills into bioenergy development centers. The project aims to develop a regional source of renewable aviation fuel for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

• USDA has invested a New Mexico facility in to produce “green crude” oil from algae which can be refined into transportation fuel.  USDA is also supporting efforts to build 5 biorefineries to produce advanced biofuels in states from Florida and Michigan to New Mexico, with investments worth about $310 million.

• To encourage the production of advanced biofuels from non-food sources, USDA made payments to 235 companies already producing biofuels from non-corn feedstocks in 42 states.

• To encourage feedstock production for renewable energy, USDA established a program to incentivize hundreds of growers and landowners farming nearly 50,000 acres to provide biomass to energy conversion facilities.

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Category: Policy

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